Many small and medium-sized enterprises lack the time, resources and IT skills to protect their systems against cyber attacks. PwC Hong Kong has developed an innovative and cost-effective solution: Connected Shield. It’s a simple but effective endpoint protection tool that empowers these companies to detect and respond to attempted cyber crime. Connected Shield was selected as a finalist in PwC's Global Innovation Challenge 2019.
Many small and medium-sized enterprises around the world lack sufficient time, resources and IT skills to protect their systems against cyber attacks. Also, as cyber threats continue to grow, cyber security solutions are generally too expensive and complex for them to use and the risks are often compounded by poor communication between the IT staff and employees.
"In New Ventures, our role is to incubate and develop new, innovative products that fit alongside PwC’s existing services. We set about combining our colleagues knowledge with our product development expertise and resources to build it."
PwC Hong Kong’s Risk Assurance Cybersecurity & Privacy Practice got first-hand experience of these challenges while conducting “ethical hacking” programs for small and medium-sized enterprise clients. While these clients accepted the need to strengthen their cyber defences, sometimes the pressures of business-as-usual can pose a challenge to implementation.
To help tackle the issue, the team decided to develop a commercial product that would automate the essence of its ethical hacking recommendations, and enable businesses to protect their laptops and networks in a more efficient manner.
To turn the idea into reality, the PwC Hong Kong Cybersecurity team collaborated with PwC’s New Ventures practice. A diverse, multi-skilled project team set about defining the product, engaging with the small and medium-sized companies and incorporating their feedback into the development work. The product that emerged was Connected Shield: a simple but effective endpoint protection solution that empowers a small or medium-sized company’s employees and IT department to detect and respond together to attempted cyber crime.
Connected Shield can protect a company’s systems by continuously monitoring for signs of an attacker’s behaviour on a laptop, and automatically sending a text message to the relevant employee when suspicious activity is detected. The solution is now running with clients in Hong Kong.
The next steps in the product’s evolution are already underway. Originally the product only ran on site in a business’s premises. Now the team have completed work on a software-as-a-service (SaaS) variant more suited to smaller companies. Further the team is looking to extend its coverage to more types of devices, including servers and other technology products. International expansion is also in prospect, with interest already being expressed by other PwC territories.
That’s why the PwC Global Innovation Challenge is commercially and client focused, leveraging what we know, through technology to deliver new ways of working, services, and products. In 2019, over 4300 innovators took part, submitting 273 solutions from 119 territories.
Victoria Huff Eckert
Global Innovation and New Ventures Leader, PwC US
Partner, PwC Hong Kong
Director, PwC Hong Kong