One in five businesses have fallen victim to cyber-attacks in the past year, according to the results of a survey released today (18 April) by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), with big businesses inevitably found to be more of a target.
The survey of more than 1,200 businesses across the UK found that 20% had been hit by a cyber-attack in the last 12 months. Big businesses are far more likely than their smaller counterparts to be victims of attacks (42% of companies with more than 100 staff, compared to 18% of companies with fewer than 99 employees).
The results indicate that businesses are most reliant on IT providers (63%) to resolve issues after an attack, compared to banks and financial institutions (12%) or police and law enforcement (2%).
The findings also show that 21% of businesses believe the threat of cyber-crime is preventing their company from growing.
The survey reveals:
Only a quarter (24%) of businesses have cyber security accreditations in place
Smaller businesses are far less likely to have accreditation (10% of sole traders and 15% of those with 1-4 employees) than big businesses (47% with more than 100 employees).
Of the businesses that do have accreditations, half (49%) believe it gives their business a competitive advantage over rival companies, and a third (33%) consider it important in creating a more secure environment when trading with other businesses
From May 2018, all businesses that use personal data will have to ensure they are compliant with the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) legislation.
The BCC survey results accord with figures in a March 2017 survey by office technology specialists Altodigital, which found almost one in five UK businesses has been targeted by hackers in the last 12 months, costing the economy a whopping £1.9 billion. Those stats also suggested that 28% of the legal sector was targeted by hackers in 2016, with a cost to UK firms of £20 million.
Dr Adam Marshall, director general of the BCC, 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.
“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. It can also increase confidence among the businesses and clients who they engage with online.
“Companies are reporting a reliance on IT support providers to resolve cyber-attacks. More guidance from government and police about where and how to report attacks would provide businesses with a clear path to follow in the event of a cyber-security breach, and increase clarity around the response options available to victims, which would help minimize the occurrence of cybercrime.”