One in five UK businesses have experienced cyber attacks in the last 12 months, according to the findings of a survey by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) released today.
Big businesses were found to be far more likely to be victims of attacks than their smaller counterparts, with 42% of companies with more than 100 staff being targeted, in comparison with 18% of firms with fewer than 99 employees.
It was also found that only a quarter of businesses have cyber security accreditations in place, despite 21% believing the threat of attacks is preventing their company from growing.
BCC director-general, Dr Adam Marshall, said: “Cyber-attacks risk companies’ finances, confidence and reputation, with victims reporting not only monetary losses but costs from disruption to their business and productivity.
“While firms of all sizes – from major corporations to one-man operations – fall prey to attacks, our evidence shows that large companies are more likely to experience them.”
These findings backup government statistics, released today, which reveal that nearly seven in ten large companies identified a cyber breach or attack in the past year.
They show that the average cost to large businesses of all breaches over the period was £20,000, but in some cases reached into the millions, with those holding electronic personal data on customers much more likely to be targeted.
The most common breaches or attacks were via fraudulent emails, followed by viruses and malware, with the size of the threat found to be growing.
“Firms need to be proactive about protecting themselves from cyber-attacks. Accreditations can help businesses assess their own IT infrastructure, defend against cyber-security breaches and mitigate the damage caused by an attack,” Marshall continued.
“It can also increase confidence among the businesses and clients who they engage with online.”
In addition, all businesses that use personal data will have to ensure they are compliant with new General Data Protection Regulation legislation which comes into effect in May next year.
“Firms that don’t adopt the appropriate protections leave themselves open to tough penalties,” Marshall added.
The threat of cyber incidents is ranked as the number one concern for UK businesses this year, according to a survey of risk experts by Allianz.
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