Cyber-attacks remain a constant threat to UK businesses, no matter how small or large. Changing circumstances due to the pandemic have led to substantial operating and financial challenges for almost every organisation, meaning cyber security might be seen as an afterthought. However, 2020 represented the biggest year for cyber-attacks against British firms on record.
These cyber-attacks come in many forms such as ransom-ware, viruses and phishing emails. There has been an increase in phishing emails recently, which try to trick users into opening a link or attachment with malicious intent.
There is an impact for businesses beyond the initial cyber-attack. Breaches can have negative repercussions in reputation and brand. The Arcserve 2020 Data Attack Surface Report found that 59 per cent of buyers are likely to avoid companies that have suffered from a cyber-attack within the last year.
In the Cyber Security Breach Survey 2021, it highlights that businesses may not have enough money in the bank to fund a recovery, or the specialist skills to deal with incidents or reputational damage on their own. Which is a big reason why prevention is better than a cure.
The potential to become a victim of cyber-crime continues to grow as the number of devices, used for both work and personal reasons in the workplace multiplies. This has certainly been the case with the recent need for remote and hybrid working. Machines become more connected via the Internet of Things and hackers become ever more sophisticated. Businesses simply cannot afford to let their guard down.
The battle against cyber criminals is not one that can be fought just by IT departments, the CIO or the CTO. Businesses need the might of their entire workforce and in this case the best weapon of defence is education. If staff are educated and kept up to date about the threats and how to recognise and prevent them, then they are on the way to winning the war.