New research published by Beaming, a business ISP, reveals that more than half (52 percent) of British businesses fell victim to some form of cyber-crime in 2016.  Beaming’s study, which was conducted by researchers at Opinium, indicates that 2.9 million UK firms suffered cyber-security breaches nationwide last year, at a cost of £29.1 billion.

Computer viruses and phishing attacks were the most common corporate cyber-threats faced by British businesses last year, in both cases impacting 23 percent of the businesses surveyed. Just under a fifth (18 percent) of businesses suffered some form of hack or data breach in 2016.

The risk of cyber-security breaches increases with business size. Seventy-one percent of organisations with more than 250 employees were victim to some form of cyber-crime last year, compared to less than a third (31 percent) of enterprises with fewer than 10 people.

Hacking and data theft top the cyber-threat agenda

The threat of hacking and data theft garners the greatest amount of attention at board level within British businesses. A third (30 percent) of companies discuss these matters in senior leadership meetings, compared to less than a fifth (18 percent) a year ago.  More than half a million British businesses took out cyber-insurance policies for the first time in the last 12 months. Nineteen percent of UK companies are now covered for losses associated with cyber-security breaches and data theft.

Small businesses accelerate investment in cybersecurity.  Adoption of new cyber-security technologies increased the fastest amongst smaller businesses in 2016.  Demand for unified threat management devices, web application firewalls and network access control systems increased by 71 percent, 59 percent and 45 percent respectively amongst those employing between 10 and 49 people.

Sonia Blizzard, managing director of Beaming, commented: “Large organisations are more likely to become a victim of cyber-crime due to being more valuable targets and because employees are often the weakest link in the cyber-security chain. They are also more resilient as they have resources to aid their recovery.”

Blizzard adds: “Successful cyber-attacks on smaller businesses are less frequent, but cause disproportionately more harm. It is encouraging that small businesses are taking the threat more seriously and investing in their cyber-defences, as a single attack could potentially break them.”

Source: Cyber Security Intelligence