Over the last decade, the number of crimes committed against UK businesses has fallen from around 21.5m in 2002 to seven million in 2012, according to a report released by the Home Office.
The information matters because of the costs of incidents and protection against crime to business – businesses spend a median average of £376 on non-IT security, increasing significantly for larger businesses and those operating in certain sectors like transportation and storage.
The improved figures are driven largely by a 61 per cent fall in thefts in the wholesale and retail sector – from 16.9m in 2002 to 5.6m in 2012. However, theft is still the country's number one problem, with the proportion of business crimes accounted for by theft increasing from 79 per cent to 84 per cent.
Critically however, the report did not include cyber crime within its analysis, citing the inability to create comparable variables with the rest of the data. Cyber crime is a growing issue, with a study by the Ponemon Institute finding that over two-thirds of retail banks were hit last year by at least one Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack – a common form of hacking that aims to make a machine or network resource unavailable by overloading it with information. Of the 650 IT professionals surveyed, 78 per cent think these attacks will continue or significantly increase in the coming year.
The costs of preventing such attacks are significant. PwC estimated the global cyber security industry was worth around $60bn (£38.5bn) in 2011, and Global Industry Analysts Inc have forecast it to grow to $80bn by 2017. And with EU regulators cracking down on businesses that are not adequately protected, costs are likely to soar even higher.