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Changes in the Housing Threat Landscape

Warren Pryer, Group Sales Director, discusses the ever changing threat landscape for Housing Associations and how to build greater resiliency against cyber attacks, including:

The Chartered Institute of Housing annual conference finally makes a welcome return to Manchester for three days at the end of June. 'Housing 2022' will pivot around Cyber Security and the catastrophic changes to the threat landscape in the last three months.

The role of Housing Associations has never been more important. Providers must now – like never before - how to build greater resiliency against cyber attacks to protect confidential Tenant data, Operational data, critical applications, and increasingly from reputational damage or even litigation.


Understanding the Threat

While the shift to Hybrid Working was already taking place in many UK organisations pre-pandemic, it was accelerated massively by the 2020 lockdowns. Two years on, both companies and workers are keen to retain a hybrid-working approach. However, this comes with specific risks.

To successfully protect themselves, Housing Associations have to be proactive rather than reactive, understanding the threats quickly and prioritising the steps needed to be taken. That's not as easy as it sounds with the nature of Cyber Security threats changing, especially with the emergence of Ransomware.

Ransomware Attacks Continue to Rise

Ransomware attacks have been making the headlines for the past few years, and the number of incidents continues to rise. As well as the costs of responding to any incidents, there are also legal liabilities to consider, and rebuilding systems or implementing new ones after an attack can also be very expensive. For example, the attack suffered by Redcar & Cleveland Council in 2020 was reported to have cost £10.4m for the system rebuild.


Addressing the Skills Shortage and Ever More Sophisticated Attacks

The current skills shortage is a particular problem across the Social Housing sector. Equally, Senior Managers are becoming increasingly concerned that cyber attacks have become too sophisticated for their current IT team to deal with independently.

Even though advanced and automated technologies are essential elements of an effective anti-ransomware defence, preventing attacks also requires the constant attention of skilled professionals. Whether it's in-house staff or outsourced support, human experts are uniquely able to identify many of the tell-tale signs that ransomware attackers are making a move.

Where human resources are light, the need for Managed Threat Response (MTR) is greater. This service, offering 24-hour threat hunting, detection, and response delivered by a managed team, is already gaining traction across Social Housing. MTR is now proven to be a cost-effective way to access the necessary detection and response skills and resources without recruiting, training, and retaining personnel.


What can you do?

You will never be 100% cyber safe, but you can take steps to mitigate any attacks and limit the damage. These include:

  • Regular security testing: Invest in closing any gaps in your infrastructure before the cybercriminals find them
  • The suitable layers of security: From external content scanning to endpoint protection, ensure your infrastructure is protected at all levels
  • Educate your people: Ensure they can identify cyber attacks and know what to avoid, learn best practices, and what to do if they think there is an issue
  • Have a plan: You need an incident response plan - how you will deal with the attack, limit any damage, and recover


IT Managed Service provider Chess are a leading provider of Managed Threat Response (MTR) solutions to Housing Associations. Chess ICT provides robust security solutions for housing associations - protecting sensitive data and web app pen testing, websites, as well as security with a MTR focus.



Sophos Cybersecurity Threat Report 2022

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Chess works with recognised leaders in the industry to provide Housing Associations with award winning next-generation solutions that are proven to work.

Reduce your costs by adopting best practices and help your people adapt to a new, remote-working environment. Chess have developed a staged approach will help Housing Associations make the most out of the intelligent built-in Microsoft security features.



Visit us at stand TE49 from the 28-30th June to speak to our experts about your technology challenges and see how Chess can help you. Book a slot in advance to speak to our specialists, book your free 30-min consultation here >

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