Kurt Manske, vice president of compliance and corporate IT at QTS Realty Trust, Inc. (NYSE: QTS), joined REIT.com for a video interview during REITWise 2015: NAREIT’s Law, Accounting and Finance Conference held in Phoenix.
QTS Realty owns, operates and manages facilities nationwide, encompassing approximately 4.7 million square feet of data center infrastructure and supporting more than 850 customers. Manske said the biggest change in cybersecurity during the past year has been “the rise of the cyber state from an attacker perspective.”
He pointed to the growing worldwide presence of ISIS as an example, as well as the group known as Anonymous that has been countering the ISIS threat and carrying out attacks of its own.
“It’s really strange when you have a terrorist organization that is actively looking for someone to be head of their cybersecurity division,” Manske noted.
In addition, there have been many well-publicized cybersecurity incidents that have come to light, he said. President Barack Obama has gone as far as to issue an executive order focusing on cybersecurity involving national critical infrastructure, Manske noted.
Meanwhile, Manske underscored the need to remain vigilant.
“We’re at the frontline of the war on cyber terror and we need to make sure we’re constantly watching inbound and outbound traffic, whether directed towards us or our clients,” he remarked. “Most people outside of IT would be astonished to know the number of attacks that happen. Unless you have the right protective mechanisms in place, those particular vulnerabilities will actualize and cause a lot of problems.”
Manske also stressed the need for internal education.
“Internal education is absolutely essential . If you look at some of the high profile incidents of the past year, they largely have happened because someone on the inside was taken advantage of via social engineering,” he said.
Manske added that the people who make cybersecurity effective on a daily basis are a company’s employees: “They are the ones who stop the attacks.”