My job: keeping data safe at RELX Group

Robin Sundaram, VP Information Assurance and Data Protection, RELX Group 

Hardly a day goes by when there isn’t a mention in the media about information security. Whether there’s been a breach of sensitive personal information, a denial of service attack on gaming websites, or leaked personal information of celebrities, it seems like the online world is under siege. How do these risks affect RELX Group and how can we help our employees be more secure both in the workplace and in their personal life? Our global information security teams deal with these challenges and associated opportunities daily.

The world has gone online in a hurry. In 1993, there were 14 million users online, less than 1% of the world’s population. Fast forward to today, there are more than 3 billion users online, more than 40% of the world’s population. There are nearly 1 billion websites that cater to consumer needs such as shopping, social media, sports, and more. This trend is evident in our business, 66 per cent of our turnover is from our online products and services. 

Information security is important for RELX as it’s one of the core principles that makes us trusted by our customers. When customers give us their sensitive information in exchange for services, they trust that our information security programme is operating effectively and that we will safeguard their sensitive information. The future of our business depends on our keeping that promise. As an example of the scale of the threats against us: in any given month across RELX, our security teams and technology prevent more than 100,000 attacks, collect and monitor 11 billion security event logs, and analyse 180m customer transactions for anomalous activity.

Information security is challenging, but also hugely rewarding to me personally. It’s challenging because you are learning new technology and addressing new risks on a daily basis. I don’t have a single day that is “normal.”  Attackers across the world are attempting to infiltrate our systems, and my job (and that of the Chief Information Security Officers for the business areas; and that of everyone in the company, really!) is to help ensure that we prevent attacks from occurring, detect them as quickly as possibly when they do, and mitigate the damage on occurrence. The most rewarding aspects of my role are working with incredibly smart people, thwarting sophisticated attacks, and knowing that we are doing our very best to keep the information entrusted to us safe.