Nine out of ten large corporations in the UK have been the victims of a cyber security attack with the average cost of severe online breaches now amounting to more than £3.1 million. This figure has soared during the last twelve months amid concern from the government that firms are not doing enough to counter the threat. Small and medium businesses have also experienced a surge in costs of security breaches – the worst-case scenario was £115,000 in 2014 – but that has now risen to a staggering £310,800.
The government now wants firms to move away from defensive approaches and focus on cyber security methods that enable businesses to secure a distinct competitive advantage. Digital Economy Minister Ed Vaizey said: “The UK’s digital economy is strong and growing, which is why British businesses remain an attractive target for cyber attack and the cost is rising dramatically. Businesses that take this threat seriously are not only protecting themselves and their customers’ data but securing a competitive advantage.”
A report by the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) shows that a third of corporations are now adhering to the Ten Steps to Cyber guidance information, which details areas to focus on including user education and awareness, network security, malware protection, and home and mobile working. In addition, almost half of all firms have now attained, or are on the brink of achieving, a Cyber Essentials badge. The government has also recently highlighted the many free services and advice that can help them guard against viruses, vulnerabilities and growing mobile apps threats and attacks.
However, despite the growing necessity to implement robust cyber security measures, boardrooms are struggling to cope with technological innovations and the new risks and hazards they bring with them. The Financial Times reported earlier this month that investigations for data privacy breaches in the financial sector has tripled during the last year and probes are likely to rise again through 2016 unless firms are more proactive about dealing with potential threats.
A further study by PricewaterhouseCooper has also highlighted the growing threat from inside the business due to the emergence of staff-related breaches. Data shows that 75% of large corporations have now suffered staff-related cyber security issues, while 33% of SMEs have experienced similar breaches – up by a third from a year ago. To improve corporate governance, businesses should now try to boost employee engagement while focusing on solutions that share and collect intelligence on threats.
This article has been written by John Winfield - Information Security Consultant, if you would like further information or would like to discuss your information security recruitment requirements, please contact John on: +44 (0)20 7014 0230 or send an email to email@example.com.
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