Following today’s launch of the government’s £1.9bn National Cyber Security Strategy, Sonia Blizzard, Managing Director of specialist business Internet Service Provider (ISP), Beaming, has offered her thoughts as she welcomes the news but warns businesses that the government's actions wouldn't guarantee their safety.
According to research conducted for Beaming with more than 500 UK business leaders, cyber security breaches cost UK companies £34.1bn in the year to 31 March 2016 and the bills for managing malware and data theft incidents amounted to £7.5bn and £6.2bn respectively. One in eight (13%) leaders said their IT infrastructure had been damaged by viruses over the last 12 months, costing infected organisations £10,516, and 7 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.
The study showed that viruses and data theft are the top security concerns in British boardrooms with more than fifth (22%) of business leaders ‘highly concerned’ about the threat of computer viruses. 18 per cent of business leaders said they were highly concerned by data theft and had invested in extensive measures to combat hackers and fear of hackers was greatest amongst large companies, of which a third (33%) expressed a high level of concern. 22 per cent of all businesses also now discuss cyber security regularly at board level.
Following such a high concern, business leaders expressed that they had already invested in additional cyber protection with 49 per cent of businesses enhancing the cyber security defences that protect their technology and communications networks. Almost three quarters (72 per cent) have insurance to cover losses caused by malware but 44 per cent of firms still only have basic levels of cyber security protection in place.
Sonia Blizzard, Managing Director of Beaming said, “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. 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.”