Shoring up Defences against Cyber Threats

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The ‘WannaCry’ ransomware attack has left a trail of disruption in its path, crippling thousands of computer networks globally. With the growth and sophistication of cyber attacks set to continue, what can companies do to protect themselves while staying open to their customers in the connected age?

For service providers like Abtran who handle millions of customer records daily, cyber security has always been a front-line priority.

‘Making it easy for customers to access great service in a safe, compliant way is fundamental to the way we deliver service for our clients’ customers every day. We’ve simply had to be proactive and extremely vigilant.’ says Abtran CIO, Aisling Deasy.

‘Staying open to customers while staying ahead of cyber threats required an information security programme that’s effective, pragmatic and sustainable over the longer term:


Security Frameworks

For instance, having stringent security controls and frameworks in place such as PCI DSS and ISO 27001, ensures information security spans the organisation as a whole, from a people, process as well as technology perspective.



We stepped up our “traditional” information security by installing powerful anti-malware and discovery applications across every device in the company. Through significant investment in SIEM (Security Information and Event Management) technology, all network traffic across the business is fully monitored, 24/7. We also minimised our attack surface by rigorously removing old plug-ins from our systems that would only lead to further exposure if retained.




Our security partnership gives us the ability to tap into global AI-driven security engines. Here we’ve been leveraging IBM Watson, for almost a year now. To date, the technology has proven extremely effective in anticipating, identifying as well as eliminating threats.


Educate Together

Through on-going staff communication, we’ve increased awareness of cyber threats across the company, alerting employees to signs of suspicious activity and putting fast-track response processes in place. Dedicated Roles

Here, we identified where attacks were likely to occur and then allocated specific roles to cybersecurity security management roles within the business. This ensures we’re best placed to anticipate as well as identify and defend against attacks as and when they occur.



Abtran has been accredited with PCI DSS and ISO (9001 and 27001) for many years now. The work completed on mapping and classifying data will also serve to ensure we’re GDPR-ready when requirements become mandatory in 2018.



Our programme of cyber security measures has empowered us to stay open to our customers and to embrace digital technologies like cloud and mobile solutions while maintaining assurance of data integrity. However, we cannot afford to be complacent. The relentless evolution of cyber attacks together with the constant shifts in the security landscape requires an always-on approach. Here, it’s about having the right security frameworks in place together with the right controls, checks and tests. These need to be constantly monitored and reworked to stay ahead.


Stay Open – Stay Secure

For organisations looking to connect more closely with their customers, stepping up cyber security might seem like a paradox. But with the constant evolution of cyber threats, companies simply must shore up their defences to protect their data assets and to provide a safe, secure environment for their digital customers.


More About Abtran

Abtran provides front-office, back office, digital, mobile and technology-based services to public and private sector clients across the Irish and European market. Accredited to PCI, ISO 9001 and ISO 27001 standards, we provide safe, secure data management across large volumes of administrative, commercial and personal data. Serving over 1.6 million households in Ireland alone, we securely process over one billion payments, handle over 45 million telephone calls, 80 million IVR interactions, 25 million-mails and over one million identity management transactions every year.