Preventing Digital Threats in Canada’s Cybersecurity Hub
With cybercrime on the rise, companies must adapt to a digital world by adopting cybersecurity practices or face the reality of a potential cyberattack. Small and medium businesses make up 77 percent of global cybercrime targets. St. Thomas University students, Autumn Lawrence and Laura Sehl, sat down with Krista Ross, CEO of Fredericton Chamber of Commerce to discuss the Chamber’s role in promoting the importance of cybersecurity to Fredericton businesses.
Students: Why do you think it is important for small and medium business to be aware of cybersecurity?
Ross: Within the last year 45 percent of businesses indicated an increase in cyberattacks. And many may not even be aware that their data has been compromised. The question is not if you will have a cybersecurity attack in your business, it’s when. Businesses of all sizes need to do whatever they can to protect their data, clients and systems. All businesses need to take measures to prepare and protect themselves from cybercrime.
Students: What role has the Fredericton Chamber of Commerce played in helping implement cybersecurity measures for small businesses?
Ross: The Chamber has put on workshops where we’ve worked with CyberNB and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce so our members can be aware of the issues. We are also promoting a certification and set of best practices via Cyber Essentials Canada. This program is specifically targeted for small and medium businesses to go through steps to be certified as secure.
Students: What obstacles have you run into during or since you’ve implemented cybersecurity practices?
Ross: I would say that the roadblocks that we’ve run into have primarily been lack of technical knowledge. When we started with Cyber Essentials Canada we started with hundreds of questions. Often when someone comes into work in a business they turn on their computer and just start working. We don’t always know where all that information resides or how we’re securing our data; we just trust that it’s being done. We’ve learned to be more aware and involved in cybersecurity.
Students: Has CyberNB been a resource in developing cybersecurity strategies?
Ross: CyberNB is the resource in developing our cybersecurity strategy. We’re hoping that when we finish our certification we’ll be used as an example of what organizations and businesses should do.
Students: Can you give us an example of when the Fredericton Chamber of Commerce succeeded in the field of cybersecurity?
Ross: A huge part of it is being supportive of the industry as it continues to grow here in Fredericton. We recently hosted the Canadian Chamber of Commerce Annual General Conference here in Fredericton, and we discussed cybersecurity in INSIGHT magazine.
Students: Why should Fredericton be considered a hub for cybersecurity?
Ross: Fredericton is considered to be one of the Smart Cities in Canada. We have strong support networks for innovation. Fredericton is known for being a centre of excellence in IT; we have two chairs in cybersecurity at UNB. So, I think, it makes a lot of sense. We’ve developed relationships and launched careers for companies like Salesforce, IBM, and Siemens. There’s even a new startup that monitors cybersecurity risks. Beauceron Security is creating proactive cybersecurity programs, and they’re based right here in Fredericton.
CyberNB is a Special Operating Agency of Opportunities NB.