Cyber-attacks remain a constant threat to UK businesses, no matter how small or large. When it comes to security it seems that bigger is not always better as new government statistics show that two-thirds of big UK businesses have suffered a cyber-attack in the past year.* With 25% of large firms having a breach at least once a month and most of the incidents involved viruses, spyware or malware, according to the Cyber Security Breaches Survey.
While recent high profile incidents, such as Talk Talk and Ashley Madison, have once again highlighted the damage that can be done to a company’s reputation, customer relations and of course, bottom line – recent figures show the cyber-attack on Talk Talk cost the company £42m** – it seems not enough is being done to neutralise these threats.
The Government’s survey backed this up. Only half of all firms said they had taken any recommended actions to identify and address vulnerabilities, about a third had formal written cyber security policies and only 10% had an incident management plan in place.
The Government also carried out a Cyber Governance Health Check which revealed that only a third of the UK’s top 350 businesses understand the threat of a cyber-attack and only a fifth of businesses have a clear view of the dangers of sharing information with third parties.
There was some light on the horizon however, as the research showed that almost two thirds of businesses were now setting out their approach to cyber security in their annual report. The Government itself has committed £1.9 billion over the next five years to tackling cyber-crime, with Minister for the Digital Economy Ed Vaizey describing cyber security as a ‘top priority’.
However clearly more needs to be done. The potential to become a victim continues to grow as the number of devices, used for both work and personal reasons, in the workplace multiplies, machines become more connected via the Internet of Things and hackers become ever more sophisticated. Businesses simply cannot afford to let their guard down.
The battle against cyber criminals is not one that can be fought just by the IT department, the CIO or the CTO. Businesses need the might of their entire workforce, and in this case the best weapon of defence is education. If staff are educated and kept up-to-date about the threats and how to recognise and prevent them, then they are on the way to winning the war.
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Posted Sunday, July 3rd, 2016 by Andrew Westhead