Juniper Research (www.juniperresearch.com) has released a report into the business attitudes towards and experiences of cyber security and cyber attacks in SMEs and enterprises. The research revealed that three quarters of companies feel they are currently secure, even though half of those businesses also reported having previously experienced a cyber attack.
Increasingly, businesses are moving critical infrastructure online, making them more vulnerable to digital threats. Yet, the study found that despite increased concern and spend on cyber security over the last year, there is a high degree of complacency, with few common practices in response to this threat. Overall, 86% of respondents believe they are doing enough to mitigate the impact of cyber attacks. Most respondents still think it’s enough to have the IT or security department involved in mitigating the effect of cyber attacks, with 33% considering the IT department solely responsible for handling security threats.
In addition, almost two thirds of respondents stated that cyber security is not their department’s responsibility. And while over three quarters of businesses have a board that is involved in assessing cyber security preparedness, only one quarter have a dedicated security executive.
While 87% of businesses reported having some form of continuity plan in place, fewer than half of businesses have secure practice guidelines to ensure employees know how to keep the business safe. In fact, Juniper’s report found that one of the biggest problems when it comes to cyber security in British businesses is not that there are no measures in place, but that they are inconsistently applied, and not reinforced.
Nearly 90% of respondents reported having a plan in place for when a data breach occurs, but only 56% of respondents believe they are secure when it comes to digital threats, and 52% of businesses still do not have any secure practice guidelines.
While 69% of respondents would contact someone immediately in the event they discovered a cyber breach, 18% would wait until the next working day if they did not consider it a big problem, including 38% of founders and 27% of all board-level respondents.
“Cyber security is a big concern for businesses of all sizes, as an attack could cost millions of pounds in lost data, reputation, time and customers,” says Windsor Holden, head of Forecasting & Consultancy at Juniper Research. “Yet, our study shows that businesses believe they are far more secure than they really are. While no business can be completely safe nowadays, there are steps that companies can take to ensure they are as safe as possible, and can recover as quickly as possible in the event of a cyber attack.”
The research frames some high profile cyber attacks in recent years, such as Target, Ashley Madison, TalkTalk and T-Mobile. Businesses are now looking at their approaches to cyber security and data protection and shoring up their defences in response. The research was conducted by Vanson Bourne which surveyed 200 British businesses.