New research conducted by Beaming shows that 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.
More than fifth (22 percent) of business leaders surveyed told Beaming’s researchers they were ‘highly concerned’ about the threat of computer viruses. While half (49 percent) of businesses have enhanced the cyber security defences that protect their technology and communications networks and almost three quarters (72 percent) have insurance to cover losses caused by malware, 44 percent of firms only have basic levels of protection in place for the risk.
18 percent 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 percent) expressed a high level of concern. 22 percent of all businesses now discuss cyber security regularly at board level.
One in eight (13 percent) leaders said their IT infrastructure had been damaged by viruses over the last 12 months, costing infected organizations £10,516 in time and money spent managing each incident. Employees were found to be responsible for infecting computing systems in more than a third of cases (39 percent).
Large and medium businesses were almost twice as likely to contract viruses as smaller companies. 21 percent of firms with over 250 employees and 19 percent of 100 – 249 people businesses suffered due to malware last year, compared to just 11 percent of sub-100 people businesses.
Seven percent of leaders admitted their organizations were hit by hackers in the last year, with the average cost of each attack estimated to be £16,264. The risk of data theft also increases with business size: 16 percent of large companies suffered successful attacks last year, compared to 12 percent of medium sized firms and four per cent of small businesses.
Beaming engaged research consultancy Opinium to survey more than 500 UK business leaders about crimes that have affected their organizations in the year to 31 March 2016, their current security concerns and approaches to maintaining resilience. Figures showing the overall impact of security breaches were obtained by considering Beaming’s findings alongside business population estimates from the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills.