• International Workplace
  • 25 April 2017

Cyber security breaches cost British businesses almost £30bn

More than half (52%) of British businesses fell victim to some form of cybercrime in 2016, according to research published by business ISP, Beaming. The study, which was conducted by researchers at Opinium, indicates that 2.9 million UK firms suffered cybersecurity breaches nationwide last year, at a cost of £29.1bn.

Computer viruses and phishing attacks were the most common corporate cyber threats faced by British businesses last year, in both cases impacting 23% of the businesses surveyed. Just under a fifth (18%) of businesses suffered some form or hack or data breach in 2016.

The risk of cybersecurity breaches increases with business size. Seventy-one per cent of organisations with more than 250 employees were victim to some form of cybercrime last year, compared to less than a third (31%) of enterprises with fewer than ten people.

The threat of hacking and data theft garners the greatest amount of attention at board level within British businesses. A third (30%) of companies discuss these matters in senior leadership meetings, compared to less than a fifth (18%) a year ago.

More than half a million British businesses took out cyber insurance policies for the first time in the last 12 months. Nineteen per cent of UK companies are now covered for losses associated with cyber security breaches and data theft.

Adoption of new cybersecurity technologies increased the fastest amongst smaller businesses in 2016. Demand for unified threat management devices, web application firewalls and network access control systems increased by 71%, 59% and 45% respectively amongst those employing between ten and­ ­­49 people.

Sonia Blizzard, Managing Director of Beaming, comments:

“Large organisations are more likely to become a victim of cybercrime due to being more valuable targets and because employees are often the weakest link in the cybersecurity chain. They are also more resilient as they have resources to aid their recovery. Successful cyberattacks on smaller businesses are less frequent, but cause disproportionately more harm. It is encouraging that small businesses are taking the threat more seriously and investing in their cyber defences, as a single attack could potentially break them.”