The era of digital transformation has seen businesses across the UK unlocking untapped potential and innovating for commercial success. However, as more and more businesses become dependent on digital infrastructure, the threat of cybercrime becomes increasingly worrying.
Linsey Scott, Head of Aberdeen office at Marsh Commercial, believes business leaders must put far more resource behind preventing cyber-attacks than is currently the case.
Cybercrime continues to increase exponentially – a recent cyber-threat landscape report suggested attacks had spiralled upwards by 140% in 2018.1
Whilst the financial impact of those attacks is varied, the stakes are incredibly high. Just one attack could reduce a business to its bare bones.
Business leaders absolutely recognise cybercrime as a risk. A recent report from our global parent company, Marsh, and leading platform and productivity company, Microsoft Corp., found that 80% of businesses now list cyber security as a top five concern, compared to 62% in 2017.
Sadly, awareness of an issue is only the first step to solving it, and the same research found concerning levels of apathy from business leaders towards ensuring their company was as safe as possible from cybercrime. Only 11% said they were confident in their ability to assess threats, prevent attacks and effectively respond to cyber security incidents, and more than half, 51%, said they had only spent several hours or less over the past year focusing on the issue.
When you consider cyber-attacks cost UK businesses $370bn last year,2 this lack of attention and concern is alarming. It is clear that business leaders need to up their game in the fight against cyber criminals. Greater resource and expertise must be directed to preventative action.
But, where should businesses start?
Well, a regimented, sustained approach is key. Building a risk management culture and providing rolling training programmes for employees in cybercrime would see risks identified and thwarted before they result in an attack. Research from Skills Development Scotland found that 82% of employers require employees with cyber security skills.3
There’s also the techy stuff. Network security, malware prevention, user privileges, data storage... it’s crucial to have the experts in to handle this, but be sure to get a base level understanding of how the measures they have put in place secure your business.
And, if the worst does happen, an incident management procedure and detailed scenario planning will ensure roles and responsibilities are clear, and minimise the impact of an attack as soon as is feasible.
Cybercrime is certainly not going away anytime soon, and the sophistication of attacks is increasing, so tackling the issue head on is the only way to ensure your business will be protected.
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Marsh Commercial is a trading name of Jelf Insurance Brokers Ltd which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Not all products and services offered are regulated by the FCA (for details see marshcommercial.co.uk/info/terms/). Registered in England and Wales number 0837227. Registered Office: 1 Tower Place West, London EC3R 5BU.