UK businesses need to improve their cybersecurity, survey finds

The British Chambers of Commerce surveyed over 1,200 businesses in the UK and discovered that 20 per cent of these businesses were victims of cyberattacks in 2016. Out of these, 42 per cent had more than 100 employees, while 18 per cent had less than 99 employees.

The survey also revealed that nearly 63 per cent of businesses were dependent on IT support providers to solve problems arising due to cyberattacks, while 21 per cent claimed that cyberattacks and crimes were impeding their growth.

The British Chambers of Commerce also found that just a quarter of the businesses surveyed had accreditations for cybersecurity such as ISO 27001 or the Government’s Cyber Essentials Scheme. SMEs were less likely to have accreditations; about ten per cent of sole traders and 15 per cent of businesses with one to four employees held them. On the other hand, 47 per cent of businesses with 100 or more employees had cybersecurity accreditations.

Adam Marshall, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, opined that businesses, including SMEs, have to try to protect themselves before a cyberattack occurs. Getting IT accreditations would help businesses evaluate their IT infrastructure, protect themselves against cyberattacks and minimise damage resulting from an attack.

Mr Marshall also pointed out that getting cybersecurity accreditations would benefit businesses when they interact with their clients and customers online. These accreditations would make end users more confident of forging a relationship with such businesses. He also warned businesses that use the personal data of visitors and customers to conform to the requirements of the General Data Protection Regulation, which will come into effect from 25 May 2018. Such businesses will have the onus to protect personal data, and those that do not have the right protection in place will face stringent penalties.

A report published jointly in March 2017 by the UK National Cyber Security Centre and the National Crime Agency shows that the threat of  cyberattacks on UK businesses is growing significantly. Businesses should be aware that there are numerous ways to mitigate cyberattacks, and they should educate themselves in this regard.

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