CIMA, industry work to firm up computer networks

More than a dozen people from government, the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority and private companies gathered for a weeklong cybersecurity boot camp last month hosted by Cayman’s eShore.

The group sat through five days of training with Jay Ranade, a computer security expert with dozens of books on the subject to his name, to prepare for taking the test for the Certified Information Systems Security Professional certification.

“Cyberattacks on business email and data breaches continue to rise at an unprecedented rate. This is our way of giving something back to the community to ensure that regional businesses not only recognize the increasing threats, but have access to the gold standard in security certification,” said eShore Managing Director Polly Pickering, who attended the class.

CIMA earlier this year issued new guidance for its licensees to place more attention on cybersecurity and to put financial services companies on notice that it will review data security risk management as part of the process when it grants and renews licenses.

In a May memo to licensees, the regulator wrote, “We are well aware of the escalating attacks targeted directly at the Cayman Islands in general and our financial industry in particular. While the Authority recognizes that many of our licensees have robust data security systems, we also recognize that there may be others that may have systems that are improper or inadequate.”

Isabel Gumeyi, a senior manager with PwC, attended the training in George Town. She said cyberattacks are “becoming more sophisticated, more complicated. You can’t have a one-size-fits-all solution.”

She said mobile security is one of the bigger challenges she is working with now, and in her experience it is leading company expenses in computer security now. Bank customers want to be able to get their balances, transfer money, and anything else they can do from a computer, now from their phones. That presents new challenges for banks to make sure they can keep their networks secure. The question, she said, is “How do we secure from end to end?”

Bob Stanier, a partner with PwC, said, “Cybercrime has surpassed the global drug trade in terms of activity.

“Because Cayman is one of the biggest financial centers,” he said, “the threat is certainly here.”

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