Cyber Security Update — How Prepared Are Britain’s Businesses?

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The FTSE 350 Cyber Governance Health Check for 2017 shows UK businesses are lagging behind in cyber security. The survey, which was published in August, questioned 105 of Britain’s most important companies. It found that more than two out of three executives (68 percent) had no training on how to deal with a cyber-attack, while just under one third of boards (31 percent) receive ‘comprehensive’ updates on cyber risk. Even more surprising, ten percent of Britain’s FTSE 350 companies have no response plan in place in the event of a cyber-attack, in spite of the fact that more than half (54 percent) see this as one of the top threats.

The yearly check-in is part of the British government’s ongoing initiative to improve cyber security on a national level. This includes £1.9 billion worth of investment and a five year National Cyber Security Strategy (NCSS), as well as the new National Cyber Security Centre which offers advice and training for businesses and other organisations. The survey does show some improvement since last year; however, with new cyber threats appearing daily the level of preparation is far from adequate.

A Cyber-Attack Causes Long-Lasting Damage

Lack of cyber security can have serious and long lasting implications, as the recent attacks on the NHS showed. Hacking can put customers in immediate risk through loss of important services or leaks that publicise sensitive personal data, but damage to the company’s reputation and credibility continues even once the situation is resolved and services are functioning normally again. This is especially true if it becomes obvious, as with the NHS, that the situation could have been prevented through timely updates.

In the private sector the fallout from a cyber-attack can be even more devastating, as stakeholders at every level lose faith in the organisation’s abilities. Customer conversion rates drop, stock prices plummet and it becomes harder for companies to attract talented employees. Charities and not-for-profit organisations face the same risks, as reputation damage from hacking quickly causes incoming funds and donations to drop and may eventually destabilise the entire organisation.

Planning ahead is the best way to protect against a cyber-attack. This includes up to date security and privacy measures, as well as ongoing reputation management which will help to minimise the damage should an attack occur. At Reputation Defender, we offer reputation assistance for business and other organisations as well as security and privacy audits which will help to catch vulnerabilities before they become a problem. Call one of our representatives or visit our website to learn more about our services.

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