May 12, 2014


New research highlighting a near doubling of the costs to businesses of cyber security breaches should be a catalyst for North East firms to ensure they’ve got everything they should have in place to stop such breaches hitting them.

Figures released by the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) showed that, while the number of information security breaches affecting UK companies has fallen slightly over the last year, the scale and cost of each individual breach has risen sharply to between £65,000 and £115,000 for smaller firms, and between £600,000 and £1.15m for large organisations.

And Paul Holborrow, head of RMT Technology, the specialist technology division of Gosforth-based RMT Accountants & Business Advisors, is advising North East businesses to act swiftly to identify, address and remove any avoidable cyber security risks that they’re facing.

BIS’s annual Information Security Breaches Survey found that the proportion of large organisations which had suffered a cyber security breach had dropped from 86% to 81% over the last year, with 60% of small businesses reporting such problems, a figure that’s down from 64% 12 months ago.

The survey also found that the majority of businesses have increased IT security investment since last year, and that the proportion who felt they had the skills required to detect, prevent and manage information security breaches had increased from 53% to 59%.
However, 70% of firms who said they had a poor understanding of security policy has experienced staff-related breaches, compared to just 41% who felt they had good understanding in this area, and Paul Holborrow believes many North East companies could still potentially be facing problems of which they might not even be aware.

He says: “With so much of the work companies do, the services they offer and the information they store now based online, the impact of any cyber security breaches that effect them could be hugely magnified, and rather than just being a nuisance, they have a far greater potential of severely impacting on their everyday operations – or even stopping them altogether.

“Cyber breaches can be anything from attacks by viruses, spyware, malware and email spam through to the loss or theft of computers or memory sticks, and targeted ‘denial of service’ website attacks, and the means of attack are becoming ever more sophisticated.

“Organisations need to regularly review the cyber security measures they have in place to confirm that they remain fit for purpose, and to ensure that staff are properly trained to recognise and avoid the risks they face in their work.

“The Government considers cyber security such a priority that it is bringing forward proposals to have it taught to 11-14 year olds as part of the National Curriculum, and North East businesses would be well advised to treat it with a similar degree of seriousness.”


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