Ettlingen / Cologne, December 2015. walter services has joined the Allianz für Cyber-Sicherheit (Alliance for Cyber Security) and is now a member of the initiative founded by the Federal Office for Internet Security (BSI) in collaboration with the Federal Association for Information Technology, Telecommunications and New Media (BITKOM). This makes the service provider part of the alliance of companies and institutions that together are pursuing the objective of increasing cyber security in Germany and strengthening the country’s resistance to cyber attacks.
With almost 40 years of experience in customer service and in dealing with large volumes of personal data, the topic of security is of the utmost importance to walter services. When developing its new IT infrastructure, the company paid special attention to data protection and data security in addition to the parameters for performance and flexibility. This sensitive and personal customer data is only saved within walter services’ own network on a ‘private cloud’ on their own servers in their own certified data centre in Karlsruhe.
“For our clients, placing their customer interfaces in the hands of a service provider is basically a matter of trust. We have to gain this trust through the continuity of our service quality and performance as well as through security”, explains Frank Wagner, Chief Compliance Officer at walter services, on why the company was inspired to join the initiative. “Solely due to the massive amount of personal data involved in customer service, protecting and securing it is of extreme importance to us. Therefore, we’ve set very high priorities in this regard and have done a lot over the past two years. For example, we’ve invested massively in our new IT infrastructure and the highest security standards. In this respect, joining the Alliance for Cyber Security and sharing our experiences in this area was a logical step”.
Members are able to report cyber attacks in order to increase transparency regarding the methods and interests of attackers. Using this information, the Alliance for Cyber Security can continuously expand its extensive knowledge base for members and participants. Interest groups and bodies of experts also meet to discuss and exchange information. Ultimately, all these activities should help to sustainably hinder cyber attacks on institutions within the Federal Republic of Germany.
Dr. Benjamin Helbig, Chief Information Officer at walter services, knows what he’s talking about when it comes to the number of attempted attacks on corporate data centres. “Our security systems prevent around 500–750 attacks per day. In order to keep the risk as low as possible and to avoid potential damage, we make no compromises when it comes to data security. Against the backdrop of current developments in cyber crime and the safe harbour agreement, I can only say that our investment strategy was absolutely right”.
The unstoppable development of digital networking means that companies run the risk of becoming victims of cyber attacks. From practically anywhere in the world, operational processes can be observed, influenced and even permanently impaired as nowadays almost all of a company’s business processes are combined in various sophisticated information and communication technology systems. The study e-Crime 2015, published by KPMG, shows that in the past two years 40% of companies in Germany were affected by cyber crime with the average total amount of loss resulting from these offences coming to around €371,000 – in individual cases, losses of over €1 million were incurred. Server crashes immobilise individual departments and even entire production lines, and often lead to losses in sales. This is one reason why many rating agencies evaluate a company’s operational risk according to their IT security. However, the damage resulting from a cyber attack is not always obvious nor can it be directly quantified. It may be a long time after know-how theft or insights into sensitive company data have occurred that a system security breach can be held responsible. According to the KPMG study, violations of trade and corporate secrets can end up costing around €600,000 per instance. The only thing that is certain is that no industry and no company can say they are not affected by cyber crime.
WHO IS WALTER SERVICES?
The walter services group counts among the largest and most successful customer service companies in Germany, with about 2,500 employees at 10 sites. For over 37 years, the service provider has been looking after large, renowned brands, ensuring added customer satisfaction.