Baroness Pauline Neville-Jones Keynotes Burson-Marsteller Cyber Forum in London

Ridge Global Senior Advisor and Former UK Security Minister cautions business leaders against simply delegating cyber leadership & accountability.

LONDON, UK (May 17, 2016) – Business leaders that fail to proactively prepare for cyber breaches face the prospect of significant “financial consequences,” said Baroness Pauline-Neville Jones at a forum hosted by leading PR and crisis communications firm Burson-Marsteller in London on Tuesday.

The Baroness, a senior advisor to Ridge Global, was keynote for the event entitled: “Cyber Attack on Business:  Not If, But When.”  She emphasized that corporate leaders—not just their IT security teams—must actively engage in planning and exercises to ensure readiness for rapidly expanding cyber incidents that have stung C-Suite leaders, boards, and brands in finance, health care, retail and other industries.

Baroness Neville-Jones, former UK Minister for Security and Counter-Terrorism who also served as Prime Minister Cameron’s representative to business on cyber, said that digital risk can be reduced and potential impacts can be minimized. “But you must know beforehand, who is in charge.  You must know beforehand, what you will do,” she said.

Lady Neville-Jones was joined on the panel by CTN CEO Stephen Watson and George Godsal, Chair and Managing Director of Burson-Marsteller’s Corporate & Crisis Practice.

“It is alarming that only 50% of corporations have a crisis communications plan of any description – and more worrying that half of those that do have no faith in that plan, said Mr. Godsal, “The situation becomes even worse when cyber-crises are considered with very low levels of preparedness and confidence reported across the industry. Having a plan, knowing who is responsible for what – and then practicing in simulated situations is essential if cyber incidents are to be prevented from becoming cyber-crises,” he added.

Also on-hand at the event in London was Ridge Global president Chris Furlow who leads the company’s US collaboration with Burson-Marsteller.  The allied firms have helped clients focus on leading an enterprise culture for cyber resilience that recognizes that cyber risk is more than just an IT challenge.

“Managing cyber risk, and building cyber-resilience are complex issues that demand board level attention,” Furlow remarked.  “It is essential that all boards assess and understand the cyber-risk they face and start to map out the complex web of relationships, responsibilities, stakeholders and actions needed to build resilience and defend their reputations.”

In 2015, Burson-Marsteller established the alliance with Ridge Global’s cybersecurity consultancy, co-founded by the first US Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge and former White House Cybersecurity Czar Howard A. Schmidt.  For more information about how Ridge Global and Burson-Marsteller can strengthen your company’s enterprise cyber resilience posture, contact Chris Furlow at +1.202.833.2008.