We have seen technology change at a rapid pace and for the most part, people have been happy to embrace the revolution. This has ushered in businesses and processes which have allowed greater productivity, better customer experiences and a reduction in costs.
As digital transformation has increasingly taken hold, the cyber threat landscape is at an all-time high in terms of sophistication and volume, and this will only rise as consumer demand for quicker and easier interaction continues.
The Office for National Statistics for the year ending June 2015 made troubling reading about the sheer scale of cybercrime and fraud within our shores. It found that there were:
• 2,460,000 computer misuse cases
• 2,057,000 cases of a computer virus infiltrating a network
• 404,000 cases of unauthorised access to personal information (i.e. hacking)
A recent Institute of Directors Cyber Survey of 980 of its members found that one in eight have experienced damage due to a cyberattack that interrupted business. While loss of reputation was thought to be significantly less, this could be, in part, because it is often very challenging to quantify. Having said that, there is no doubt that its impact can be devastating if the business concerned relies on customer trust.
Whilst the threat of cyberattacks is becoming more frequent and with many household names providing credible case studies, it is perhaps surprising that only 20 per cent of UK businesses currently hold cyber insurance policies, though I predict that in the coming years such cover will become a ‘must have’ for businesses.
The dependence on technology and the internet in most businesses is now deeply embedded, be it the storing of financial information, customer details or a business bank account. This presents directors of UK companies with an evolving set of opportunities and challenges which require new skillsets and awareness. Traditionally, computer security was the responsibility of the IT director or a chief information officer. What we are now seeing is that it is the responsibility of the whole board as its definition crosses into all areas of a business. It is important that directors and owners realise they do not need to be cyber experts to understand the risk but do need to have the correct solutions in place and underpin the, with policies and processes to deal with any situation.
Want to find out more about what can be done to mitigate the risk? Visit WatchGuard at GOVSEC on 11 May at the Inmarsat Conference Centre, London.
Written by Jonathan Whitley, Sales Director, Northern Europe