Viruses and data theft are the biggest cyber risks for firms

UK bosses rank computer viruses and data theft as the biggest security threats to their businesses.

Cyber security breaches cost UK companies £34.1 billion last year, with bills for managing malware and data theft incidents amounting to £7.5 billion and £6.2 billion respectively, according to new research conducted by Beaming, the business ISP.

More than fifth (22%) of respondents were ‘highly concerned’ about the threat of computer viruses. While half (49%) of businesses have enhanced the cyber security defences that protect their technology and communications networks. Almost three quarters (72%) have insurance to cover losses caused by malware, 44% of firms only have basic levels of protection in place for the risk.

Around 18% of business leaders said they were highly concerned by data theft and had invested in extensive measures to combat hackers. Fear of hackers was greatest amongst large companies, of which a third (33%) expressed a high level of concern. Around 22% of all businesses now discuss cyber security regularly at board level.

Sonia Blizzard, managing director of Beaming, comments: “Data and intellectual property are valuable assets, but like any asset they are vulnerable to damage, loss or theft. We are seeing an arms race between businesses that rely on the internet and those who use it for malicious purposes. Leaders recognise that cyber-attacks present a critical risk to their businesses, and that they must be more resilient to meet an increasingly sophisticated enemy. Enhanced encryption, network level monitoring and secure connectivity are must-haves for businesses today.”