Companies most fearful of cyber-attacks, says poll

Cyber attackA new survey has revealed that cyber-attacks remain the top threat perceived by businesses, closely followed by fears of data breaches.

The poll of 568 companies across 74 countries showed that 85 per cent of respondents fear a cyber-attack, such as malware or distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks like the recent BBC incident which took its websites down for some considerable time.

Meanwhile, 80 per cent said they were worried about data breaches similar to high-profile incidents affecting Carphone Warehouse and Sony. Not only are data breaches damaging reputationally, they can be expensive in terms of any fines imposed as result.

There was also increasing concern about physical threats such as terrorism and security incidents (such as vandalism, theft or fraud), which both climbed the rankings (see table) and were cited by 55 per cent of respondents apiece.

1) Cyber-attack   –   static
2) Data breach   –   up 1
3) Unplanned IT & telecom outages   –   down 1
4) Act of terrorism   –   up 5
5) Security Incident   –   up 1
6) Interruption to utility supply   –   down 2
7) Supply chain disruption   –   down 2
8) Adverse weather   –   down 1
9) Availability of key skills   –   new entry
10) Health and Safety incident   –   new entry

The survey - now in its fifth year and conducted by the Business Continuity Institute (BCI) in association with BSI - found that cyber-attacks topped the concerns list for the second year running.

"2015 saw a number of high profile businesses across the world hit by cyber-attacks, so it's reassuring to see that so many are aware of the threat it poses," said Howard Kerr, BSI's chief executive, who noted it was the top concern in six out of the eight regions surveyed.

"However, we remain concerned to see that businesses are still not fully utilizing the information available to them to identify and remedy weaknesses in their organizational resilience," he added.

For instance, the survey also found that more than a quarter of organisation do not use business continuity management (BCM) tools like trend analysis to monitor and prepare for threats, and that the proportion of those that do has been declining in recent years.

A recent industry report suggested that the annualized cost of cyber-crime per UK company now stands at £4.1m ($), a 14 per cent increase in mean value since last year. On the other hand, adoption of ISO 22301, the business continuity standard, seems to be on the rise, with more than half (51 per cent) of organizations now relying upon this in the latest survey.

"One thing is clear: the ability of an organization to anticipate, prepare for, respond to and adapt to change and crucially to prosper from it - is more important now than ever," said Kerr.

"A resilient organization is one that not merely survives over the long term, but also flourishes - passing the test of time."

Image courtesy of Shutterstock / GlebStock

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