Over three quarters (77 per cent) of the UK board directors surveyed on behalf of NCC Group want watchdogs to take a tougher stance on those with insufficient cyber security measures, while a similar proportion (71 per cent) would like companies which fail to meet cyber security requirements to be penalised.
Meanwhile, just under half (48 per cent) of those asked felt cyber threats were now a bigger risk to their business than market volatility. Speaking at the Institute of Directors annual convention, NCC Group chief executive, Rob Cotton, called this statistic a "telling and chilling fact".
However, Cotton warned the audience that business leaders also had a role to play in protecting their firms from cyber crime by educating themselves as necessary.
"The problem is we've all got to go back to school," he said.
He also noted that senior staff members needed to be more courageous in asking questions about cyber security, noting many had to get over the fear of "some spotty geeky kid giving you a response that means nothing".
Earlier this month, internet behemoth Yahoo became one of the latest companies to be linked to a high profile hack, after it revealed as many as 500m of its users' personal details had been compromised in an attack stemming back to 2014.