A new survey shows that cyber security breaches cost UK companies £34.1 billion in the year to 31 March 2016 with the bills for managing malware and data theft incidents amounting to £7.5 billion and £6.2 billion respectively.
One in eight leaders said their IT infrastructure had been damaged by viruses over the last 12 months, costing infected organisations £10,516 in time and money spent managing each incident. Seven per cent of leaders admitted their organisations were hit by hackers in the last year, with the average cost of each attack estimated to be £16,264.
It’s been outlined that viruses and data theft are the top security concerns in British boardrooms with more than a fifth of business leaders claiming they are ‘highly concerned’ about the threat of computer viruses.
Fear of hackers was greatest amongst large companies, of which a third expressed a high level of concern. As a result, 22 per cent of all businesses now discuss cyber security regularly at board level.
Security was threatened to such an extent last year that half of UK businesses have already enhanced the cyber security defences that protect their technology and communications networks, with almost three quarters having insurance to cover losses caused by malware.
However, 44 per cent of firms only have basic levels of cyber security protection in place, leaving these businesses to be the more vulnerable.
Sonia Blizzard, managing director of Beaming, comments: “We welcome the government’s focus on making the internet a more secure, positive and prosperous environment for businesses. Its commitment to fighting cybercrime is good news but it doesn’t guarantee our safety. It is a work in progress and the private sector needs to take responsibility here.”
“We don’t want to give businesses a false sense of security here. The number of specialist investigators seems low given the size of the threat and we need clarity around the reporting of cybercrime if we are to have faith in anything being done.
“The onus is on businesses to protect themselves. The biggest threat of all is human and all employees are responsible for data security, not just the IT department. Employees clicking on compromised links are a common cause of problems and ransomware is so sophisticated now that this can cause real issues very quickly.
“We are seeing an arms race between businesses that rely on the internet and those who use it for malicious purposes. Companies need to recognise this, understand where their data is kept and take steps to secure it.”