Approximately one-third of UK business leaders would pay a ransom if they suffered a cyber attack, with one in ten willing to fork out £1m or more to get their systems and data back.
That is according to a survey of over 150 executives from small and medium-sized companies by Lloyds bank, finding that just 32% had a financial resilience plan in preparation for cyber attacks.
It was also found that only a quarter of the firms studied had dedicated cyber insurance, while just half discuss the risk of attacks regularly at their board meetings.
Lloyds commercial banking head of data and cyber security, Giles Taylor, said it was “startling” that a third of companies would pay a ransom when there is no guarantee they will get their data back.
“A common problem faced by businesses is failing to understand the full financial impact of a cyber-attack,” he continued.
“Strong governance, operational and financial planning should be at the heart of any cyber-response activity so that they are better equipped to minimise any potential harm.”
The survey also found that 65% of companies believe it will take them six months or more to recover from a disruptive attack, with almost one-fifth thinking it will take at least a year.
Despite this, approximately four in ten businesses do not have a financial cash reserve in place should a hacker infiltrate their firm.
This comes after previous research found that a major global cyber attack has the potential to trigger losses in excess of $50bn (£35bn), while even a half-day outage at a cloud service provider could generate losses of around $850m.
“Businesses recognise that there will be disruption, but if recovery is going to take months or years rather than weeks, then without a plan the financial implications can be disastrous,” Taylor said.
“A cyber crisis can quickly turn into a liquidity crisis and the sudden drain on cash reserves could affect a firm’s ability to pay staff or suppliers and stay afloat.”
An increasing reliance on data and IT systems has seen cyber incidents shoot to the top of the most pressing risks facing businesses worldwide, research by Allianz has uncovered.
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