IT outages and cyber-attacks: five data loss statistics and disasters

IT outages and cyber-attacks: five data loss statistics and disasters

Last year, an alarming 87% of small businesses suffered an information security breach, the worst of which cost £65k. These findings, from the “2013 Information Security Breaches Survey” published by the Department for Business Innovation & Skills (BIS), highlight the risks businesses are taking through poor business continuity (BC) and disaster recovery (DR) planning, testing and inadequate investment in resources.

Five data loss facts and stats for small businesses

The BIS survey also reveals the following:

  1. Small businesses reported an average of 17 cyber-attacks in 2013, up by almost 50% on 2012
  2. Attacks originated both inside and outside the organisations affected
  3. 63% of small businesses were attacked by an unauthorised outsider in the last year - up from 41% a year ago
  4. 15% of small businesses detected that outsiders had successfully penetrated their network in the last year - up from 7% a year ago
  5. 23% of small businesses were hit by denial-of-service attacks in the last year – up from 15% a year ago

The survey found incident management in small businesses ‘generally weak’, which is particularly apt in light of the number of high-profile service outages and data breaches that occurred in 2013.

Five data loss disasters

There are many reasons for IT outages or data loss, such as natural disasters, power failure, human error/malice or fire. Here are some examples from the last few months of the year. They range from physical attacks to cyber-attacks and suspected system update errors.

  1. Sky: 37,000 customers were left without broadband in December as suspected copper thieves cut BT fibre cables.
  2. NatWest and RBS: an IT outage left NatWest and RBS customers across the UK unable to use debit and credit cards on Cyber Monday, 2 December, one of the busiest online shopping days of the year. Serious reputation issues transpired in the ensuing media and social media frenzy. Speculation erred towards a cyber-attack or a failed system update, as per the 2012 incident, which caused chaos for customers for days.
  3. The Racing Post: the racing news site was hit by a “sophisticated, sustained and aggressive” attack that led to the access and theft of customer registration data.
  4. Adobe: cyber attackers obtained data on more than 38 million of the software company’s customer accounts, and took credit card information and other data from nearly three million customer accounts.
  5. Sony: “millions” of UK customers’ personal data was exposed on its PlayStation Network (PSN) when hackers broke into the system. Sony was subsequently fined £250,000.

BC and DR plan – a good insurance cover

The impact of a service outage or data breach can be greatly lessened by good business continuity and disaster recovery planning, testing and resources. Simply going through that process will lessen your risk so much that you can negotiate as much as 15% off your insurance premium with your insurers.

Find out more on the business continuity section of our website. 

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