Companies not doing enough to protect themselves from cybersecurity risks, believing their business will not be a target for attacks

Hayley Kirton
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It will never happen to us, think two in five UK businesses (Source: Getty)

Despite business leaders' concerns about cybersecurity, companies are failing to protect themselves against risks, believing the worst will not happen to them.

Research released today by insurer Aviva has found that two in five (44 per cent) small- and medium-sized businesses in the UK think the odds are unlikely of them being the target of a cyberattack and less than a quarter (24 per cent) are taking action to protect themselves against risks.

Meanwhile, professional services firm PwC yesterday also warned that businesses were not doing enough to protect themselves against cybersecurity risks, even though a report the firm had released the week before at the World Economic Forum found that nearly three-quarters (74 per cent) of UK chief executives rank cybersecurity as a major risk to their business.

"There appears to be a disconnect between concerns at the top of business and the speed and consistency with which these security measures can be implemented within organisations," said Richard Horne, cybersecurity partner at PwC. "This vulnerability to attacks becomes more stark when we take into account the speed of technological change and how organisations' new digital initiatives present greater potential for attackers, arming them with both new tools and a wider range of targets."

Read more: Expect 2016 to be a big year for geopolitical cyber attacks

Commenting on the findings of his company's survey, Angus Eaton, managing director of commercial lines at Aviva, said: "As we know from the media stories recently there have been a number of high profile attacks where business systems have been hacked or systems disabled. However, it is a mistake to think criminals will only target big business.

"These criminals operate in ever more sophisticated ways using malicious codes to search out vulnerabilities online so anyone could become a target. Protecting your business from cybercrime is good business because your customers want the reassurance that their data is safe in your hands."

Aviva also discovered that, of the businesses it surveyed which had suffered a cybersecurity incident, three-quarters spent up to £1,000 trying to recover from the issue, six per cent spent up to £5,000 while four per cent had to fork out up to £10,000.

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