BY Richard Summerfield
There can be little doubt that the digital economy is changing our day to day lives. For consumers and companies alike, the advent of the digital age has forever altered the way we do business. According to data from the UK Office for National Statistics, in 2014, e-commerce sales were £573bn across non-micro businesses, up from £335bn in 2008.
Companies are discovering that technology has a pivotal role to play in their future development and prosperity, according a new report from Ipsos MORI and the Institute of Criminal Justice Studies. The 'Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2016' report notes that over half (53 percent) of all businesses say online services form a core part of the goods and services they provide, at least to some extent.
Yet despite this reliance on cyber activity, the report suggests that firms in the UK are increasingly exposed to cyber criminality as a result of their unwillingness – or even inability – to properly tackle security.
The report, commissioned by the UK government’s National Cyber Security Programme to survey UK businesses on their approach to cyber security and the costs they have incurred from cyber security breaches, found that two of every three big business firms surveyed were breached at some point over the last year. In total, 24 percent of UK businesses were breached. The majority of those firms were medium or large enterprises.
The most common types of cyber security breaches were viruses, spyware or malware, and impersonation of the organisation. Only half of all firms surveyed had implemented basic security controls across five major areas laid out under the government-backed Cyber Essentials Scheme. Given that just three in 10 organisations have written cyber security policies, and only 1 in 10 have any formal processes for managing such incidents, it is clear that companies must become better organised when it comes to protecting themselves.
According to digital economy minister Ed Vaizey, the breaches are particularly troubling. He said: “The UK is a world-leading digital economy and this government has made cyber security a top priority. Too many firms are losing money, data and consumer confidence with the vast number of cyber attacks. It's absolutely crucial businesses are secure and can protect data."