Why should you be concerned about cybersecurity for your business?

GoC Public Safety reports that about 70% of Canadian businesses have been a victim of cyber attacks — average cost  $15,000 per incident [1].

The top 3 impacts of a security breach are: ruined reputation, theft of information (e.g. credit card, financial, customer, intellectual property), and lost revenue (due to disrupted operations).

What new services will GCR have available in the future?

GCR will be supplementing the IT Intruder Alerting service with additional resources to help small businesses manage the cybersecurity risks they face. These resources will include on-demand employee security awareness training and completion certificates.

Why is the sensor device called a “Canary”?

The term “Canary” is in reference to the technique used in the past called “canary in the coal mine”.   The idea was to place a canary in a mine to detect carbon monoxide.  Well into the 20th century, coal miners brought canaries into coal mines as an early-warning signal for toxic gases, primarily carbon monoxide.  The birds, being more sensitive, would become sick before the miners, who would then have a chance to escape or put on protective respirators.   The “Canary” device serves the same purpose in an IT network – it detects and alerts for intruders to warn business operators so they can take action to protect their business.

What is a honeypot?

A honeypot is an intrusion detection technique used to study hackers and their movements.  Honeypots are useful in detecting emerging threats.   Honeypots:

  • Only collect attack or unauthorized activity, dramatically reducing the amount of data they collect
  • Reduce false alerts as they only capture unauthorized activity
  • Can identify and capture new attacks not seen before
  • Require minimal resources even on the largest network
  • Can capture encrypted attacks

The GCR Security Canary is a low/medium interaction honeypot which means it has limited interaction available to the hackers.  The honeypot works by emulating services and operating systems and simulates services that cannot be exploited to get complete access to the honeypot, attacker activity is limited to the level of emulation by the honeypot.

What is a Cybersecurity Operations Center?

The best way to prevent serious business damage is to detect and remediate cybersecurity attacks quickly.

Cybersecurity Operations Centers (CSOCs)  are designed to be a centralized operation center that maintains visibility of your organization’s security posture and provides a pool of qualified security staff.   However CSOCs are outside the budget and capability of most SMEs.

The GCR Cybersecurity Operations Center (CSOC) is operated by Carleton University’s Lead to Win organization.  The CSOC is physically located at 7 Bayview Road, Ottawa.  The CSOC is based on proven open source software and is staffed with GCR security professionals.

Who is GCR?

Global Cybersecurity Resource (GCR) is project organization run under the auspices of Carleton University’s Lead to Win program.  The GCR organization is mandated with increasing the IT security of Ottawa region SMEs, increasing the availability of qualified security staff, and driving economic development for existing and new companies.

Why is GCR focused on SMEs?

There is a huge government and industry focus on large enterprise cybersecurity, as we have seen for example with the recent announcement from Public Safety and CCTX.  

Unfortunately Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Canada are being overlooked.  

Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Canada:

  • Generally have limited IT staff and cybersecurity expertise
  • Are critical to the Canadian economy:
    • Small businesses with less than 100 employees account for over 97% of all Canadian businesses [1].  
    • Canadian small and medium businesses with <500 employees account for over 54% of Canadian GDP [2].  While small businesses with <50 employees account for 30% of Canadian GDP [1].
  • Are at risk to cyberattack.  

GCR is uniquely focused on helping increase the cybersecurity posture of small and medium-sized businesses.   

What is an SME?

SME refers to Small and Medium-sized Enterprises.

Stats Canada defines a small business as having 1 to 99 paid employees, and a medium-sized business having 100 to 499 paid employees.

How is GCR helping SMEs?

GCR is offering services intended to help small businesses manage the cybersecurity risks they face.   These resources include an IT Intruder/Hacker Alerting service, and on-demand employee security awareness training.   We are piloting the hacker alerting service and will be rolling out employee security awareness training over the next few months.  

The services are free during the pilot phase, there maybe a nominal monthly fee for the service after the pilot phase completes.  The pilot phase will run until the end of 2018.

How does a SME qualify for the free pilot services?

The GCR services are currently in a closed pilot deployment phase.  There is no cost to your business to participate in the pilot phase.  Pilot deployments are targeted at qualified SMEs, an SME is qualified for the free pilot services if they:

  • Are in the Ottawa region
  • Have an internal network (of any size) behind a firewall
  • Are willing to provide feedback on the service offering, and their needs/perspectives related to cybersecurity and their business

Pilot deployments will typically run between 6 and 12 months.

SME’s can contact GCR directly to express their interest in being part of the pilot deployment activity.

What SME-relevant employee educational resources do you recommend?

The Government of Canada’s Public Safety department has published several SME-relevant videos which are available on this page.

Do you have a high resolution logo I can use for my media article?

Yes, you can use this logo:

GCR Logo Vector

Where does GCR get it’s funding from?

Funded by the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) Investing in Regional Diversification initiative.