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Clear and Present Danger: Mark Ash. Chief Sales and Marketing Officer, Alto Digital

Altodigital has achieved ISO 27001 – the UKAS approved global standard for security and safety which is recognised internationally as a world class information security management system. The company, which operates 12 sites across the country, spent 18 months working on the accreditation and is one of just a handful of dealers who hold the rating

Driven by the board, the large-scale project was implemented to address the dealer’s own vulnerabilities, as well as protect its customers’ data. It was also implemented to prepare the business for the increasing worldwide reliance on the internet and future-proof against new technologies.

Cyber security is increasingly becoming a priority issue for organisations. According to the recent Cyber Security Breaches Survey, published by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport – 78 per cent of businesses and 75 per cent of charities now rate it as a high priority.

With UK businesses recognising the clear and present danger posed by cyber-attacks, Altodigital Chief Sales and Marketing Officer, Mark Ash, believes it is irresponsible that so few office technology suppliers are demonstrating the necessary commitment to properly support them.

Failing to protect
Ash said he was heartened with the survey results that highlighted greater awareness of the risk of cyber-attack. “However, my joy was very quickly replaced with a sense of frustration because it seems that while businesses and other organisations are prioritising and focusing on preventing cyber threats, their efforts are being hindered by suppliers who are just not taking the issue seriously enough. They are failing to take adequate steps to protect themselves and their customers, and this is simply not acceptable in today’s IT reliant world.”

An example of this failure, according to Ash, is the seemingly lackadaisical attitude by dealers and suppliers not attaining key standards and certificates. “ISO 27001 is the approved global standard for keeping data safe and secure. However, only three of the top 20 dealers have this standard, and what’s even worse are those who opt for second-rate versions of a cyber security accreditation that are awarded by other bodies and are easier and cheaper to attain. These are in effect a cynical effort by a marketing department to ‘tick a box’ and provide a skin deep reassurance to their prospective customers,” he said.

Significant investment


Achieving full ISO 27001 certification requires a significant investment in terms of resources and funding, however, Ash argues that it’s vital that dealers buy into this as it guarantees customers the highest levels of protection against cyber threats such as ransomware, spearphishing and many other viruses that can render a business incapable of operating.

“Data breaches are increasing faster than ever. We have smart technology in the office, at home, in cars, it’s everywhere. The whole world is moving towards that and we’re not going to stop. Companies need to have this top-flight accreditation to keep up with the competition, as well as keeping up with the increasingly sophisticated cyber criminals,” he said.

“The ISO accreditation is more than just a certificate or a badge, it’s about going to the depths of our business and making sure we are credible. It means we have robust business continuity processes in place to ensure that assets are protected from destructive events. It also highlights the use of stringent control measures to ensure the loss of critical assets can be recovered in a managed and safe manner,” Ash explained.

Safeguard for the future
In the face of ever improving technologies, greater use of the internet, and increasingly sophisticated online criminals, Altodigital believes it has safeguarded itself and its clients for the future. “We have looked at all of our vulnerabilities and we have fixed them,” Ash said, adding: “Our client’s data has an extra level of protection due to the robust processes and systems in place. We can reassure both prospective and existing customers that we can continue to give the best quality of service with no unnecessary and damaging vulnerabilities.”

The ISO rating is also key for manufacturers who partner with Altodigital. The accreditation means it is not only protecting its customers’ data, but also the brand name and reputation of its suppliers, such as Samsung, Canon, Lexmark and Sharp.

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