Q&A with Mark Wallace, Head of Cyber Security at FMG

Mark Wallace, Head of Cyber Security at Fortescue Metals Group (FMG), will speak at the GMG Adelaide Forum on Secure and Integrated Energy and Mining Systems on March 20-21. We asked him a couple questions about his presentation and his work.

You’ll be presenting on “Trust as a strategy to combat cyber risk in mining.” Could you elaborate on what “trust” means in this context?

The presentation will touch on ”trust” in a couple of contexts, reinforcing that cultural change is equally if not more important than technical change to combat cyber risk.

The first is trust in the context of IT/OT convergence. Mining needs to overcome the clash of two traditionally separate cultures: industrial engineering teams and corporate IT teams. Both teams have distinctly different missions with contrasting agendas, tools and priorities. The pervasiveness of technology, however, has propelled the integration of all technology-enabled things. Convergence is happening whether or not the people and culture of an organization are ready for it. It is therefore critical for the two teams to break down the barriers and work towards greater unity in their approach to managing cyber risk. Trust is required to harmonize the two cultures.

The second is trust in the context of the broader business ecosystem (e.g. competitors and supply chain partners). A broader range of malicious actors are now specifically targeting miners. Organizations alone lack the capacity and resources to keep pace with our adversaries. Mining companies all rely on similar processes, technologies and service providers, which expose them to similar cyber risks. Building trust to work together as an ecosystem of companies, pooling resources and sharing intelligence puts the industry in a better position to combat cyber risk.

Why is cyber literacy, the ability to use technologies and understand potential cyber risks or vulnerabilities, important in today’s technological climate?

With the increased importance of technology in society and how quickly it is changing, cyber threats and risks (and the associated technical jargon describing them) are also growing. Leaders must have a level of cyber literacy to fulfil their duties. Concerns about data theft and cyber-attacks rank in the top five risks to business globally according to the World Economic Forum’s annual Global Risks Report. To drive innovation and strategy in this context, it is imperative that leaders have a general understanding of the technology trends and the risk landscape both within and beyond their industry. Leaders that are too slow to adjust to the pace of digital disruption are more likely to fail.


Read more about Mark Wallace and the other speakers at the forum here

Register for the Adelaide forum here