UK businesses still underprepared for cyber security attacks

UK businesses still underprepared for Cyber security attacks

With numerous high-profile security breaches in recent years, UK businesses are facing greater pressure to ensure their security measures are up-to-date and in place. Consequently, our latest Tech Cities Job Watch report revealed that demand and salaries for IT security professionals has continued to climb.

However, despite the increase in both attacks and warnings, many companies remain complacent. They still don’t believe they could be the target of hacking. As a result, they lack the right approach or plan to protect themselves against attacks.

The growing threat of DDoS

Cyber attacks have become a regular occurrence in the UK. The UK Government has logged more than 200 successful attacks each month for the past year – twice as many incidents as experienced in 2015. The cyber attacks and repair of damages done cost UK businesses £34bn a year – with £18bn in lost revenues and the remaining £16bn representing increased spending on cyber defences. Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks in particular are one of the most common, positioning the UK as the world’s second-most targeted country.

Although DDoS is possibly one of the simplest attacks, it can be the most effective. DDoS attacks often target webservers because they are publically accessible, using a distributed network of computers to flood them with requests until the system cannot cope. Often these requests are so complex in nature that the server takes minutes rather than milliseconds to process them. At this point, a website experiences a Denial of Service when it can no longer provide access to legitimate users. Both Google and Amazon have fallen foul of this kind of attack in recent years, proving that even the largest organisations can be affected.

False sense of cyber security

However, it’s not only the large organisations that are under threat. It’s thought that the larger the organisation, the bigger the risk and size of attack. That is why many SMEs don’t seem to take security seriously. They assume they’re safe from cyber attacks because they are too small and of no interest to cyber criminals.

Yet most businesses affected by security breaches are small businesses. They are, in fact, seen as an easier target, as they often don’t have the resources or security measures in place to deal with cyber crime. Once attacked, the consequences of a breach can have severe implications. Research from Barclaycard revealed that the impact of a cyber attack on UK small businesses costs on average between £75,000 and £311,000 in lost sales, recovery of assets, business disruption, fines and compensation. If your website was down for one day, how much would your business lose as a result?

The time to act is now

The threat and severity of cyber attacks should not be underestimated. Often, it’s not a matter of ‘if’ but ‘when’. Recently, the charity Comic Relief was targeted with ransom ware, literally holding them hostage. This further highlights that no one is immune to cyber attacks. Companies of all sizes should look into prioritising cyber security to protect their business and its reputation. Investing in the right experts and robust measures to combat attacks will pay off in the longer term.

Read more in Experis’ Tech Cities Job Watch Q2 2016 report.

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