Half of large companies said they had suffered a “crisis event” in the last 12 months with cyberattacks and industrial espionage the two most common incidents.
According to a poll of leaders of large UK companies by insurance broker Gallagher, 27 per cent had fallen victim to a cyberattack or data breach in the last year while 18 per cent had been targeted with industrial espionage.
In the next 12 months 40 per cent expect to be hit by a cyberattack, 30 per cent expect to be victims of espionage and 14 per cent expect to be caught up in a terrorist attack.
Only 16 per cent of businesses had arranged a back up communications channel in case a cyberattack knocked out their systems.
Recent attacks such as the NotPetya hack last year knocked out email and phone communications, leaving the companies affected, which included shipping giant Maersk, food conglomerate Mondelez and law firm DLA Piper, scrambling around to find alternative methods of communication.
Managing director of crisis management at Gallagher Paul Bassett said: “It is surprising to see that few major UK businesses have a back-up crisis communications plan in place, particularly in the wake of Petya and other attacks which have specifically sought to disarm and disable central communications systems.”
Financial loss and reputational loss were considered the two greatest risks with 88 per cent and 81 per cent of leaders respectively describing them as their greatest worry.