UK companies lag behind in cyber security

UK companies lag behind in cyber security

A new survey released by BT has found that many UK companies are not doing enough to repel cyber attacks.

The study, which gauged the views of companies in the UK, Germany, Hong Kong, Brazil, USA, Singapore and France found that Britons had the least worries about attacks from cyber terrorists and hackers.


Of those asked if keeping cyber attacks away from accessing valuable data was an "absolute priority" for their company, only 17 per cent of British firms agreed that it was.

This was substantially lower than in other countries, with France (23 per cent), Singapore (34 per cent), USA (41 per cent) and Brazil (52 per cent) and shows that the UK is lagging behind its global counterparts in this regard.

Indeed, more than half (55 per cent) of IT decision-makers in the UK claim that their board does not take the issue of cyber security seriously enough and believe a breach could result in substantial downtime or loss of reputation.


Among the threats deemed most dangerous to their companies, insider leaks - such as those carried out by Edward Snowden against the NSA - are regarded as the top priority, with 65 per cent of IT executives globally regarding this as a "severe threat".

Other concerns included hacktivism (37 per cent), organised crime (32 per cent), attacks from other nations (15 per cent) and terrorism (12 per cent).

But many businesses neglected to mention cloud computing, which analysts at Gartner and the International Data Corporation believe could present an opportunity for hackers, as a number of pieces of sensitive information could be revealed if a virtualised server was compromised.


Mark Hughes, chief executive of BT Security, claimed that the research gave a fascinating insight into the priorities of companies both in the UK and abroad over the next 12 months.

"As the threat landscape continues to evolve, CEOs and board level executives need to invest in cyber security and educate their people in the IT department and beyond. The stakes are too high for cyber security to be pushed to the bottom of the pile," Mr Hughes added.

"US businesses should be celebrated for putting cyber security on the front foot. The risks to business are moving too fast for a purely reactive security approach to be successful. Nor should cybersecurity be seen as an issue for the IT department alone.”

The Snowden effect

One of the biggest drivers of enthusiasm for IT security has been the myriad of leaks by former National Security Agency (US) (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden.

Although Mr Snowden targeted internal documents owned by a government agency, something that had little effect on private companies, large corporations are thought to be investigating ways they can prevent similar incidents.

BAE Systems, for example, has recently announced that 40 per cent of its new graduate positions will be for cyber security roles and this will help it improve its anti-hacking capabilities, although the majority of new jobs will still go to those in more traditional sectors.

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