The problem of cyber breach is very real, with four in ten businesses having experienced a technological attack in the last 12 months.
Latest figures from the government has shown attacks, such as fraudulent emails and cyber criminals falsely impersonating a company online, has affected 43 per cent of businesses and 19 per cent of charities in the past year.
Large businesses are more vulnerable to cyber attack, with 72 per cent stating they have experienced one during this period.
Companies have been urged to look closely at their cyber security, as the financial cost of an attack can be extremely high. Indeed, the average large business spent £9,260 on each incident, while many others cost much more.
Margot James, minister for digital and the creative industries, said: “These new figures show many organisations need to act now to make sure the personal data they hold is safe and secure.”
She added that the government is trying to do its bit to help as well and is investing £1.9 billion in cyber protection. It also provides free help and guidance from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) and the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC).
Later this month, the government is tightening data protection laws as well with its Data Protection Bill. This will enable the ICO to have more power to defend the interests of the consumer, as well as demand organisations pay higher fines of up to £17 million for extreme breaches.
As part of the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) laws, which will come into effect on May 25th, businesses need to change the way they attain and store customers’ details.
Companies can learn whether the laws affect them and how they will be able to collect data in a legal and safe way after the GDPR comes into effect. All the information can be found on ICO’s website where businesses can find help on improving their security and making sure they only retain the necessary information.
In order for businesses to make the most of the protection, they need to already have effective cyber security measures in place.
Ciaran Martin, chief executive officer of the NCSC, emphasised the threat of cyber attacks, saying they can “inflict serious commercial damage and reputational harm”.
He stated many businesses can avoid this by taking “simple cyber security steps to remove basic weaknesses”.
Large businesses, unsurprisingly, suffer most cyber attacks due to their size, and typically experience 12 episodes a year. This is double the number medium-sized enterprises face, while 42 per cent of micro and small businesses have had at least one breach in the last 12 months.
There are many repercussions to these cyber attacks, including a loss of profits, damage to consumer confidence, data leaks, system failures and harm to reputation.
This is why 74 per cent of businesses and 53 per cent of charities claim improving their cyber security remains a high priority for them now.
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