Tuesday 22 September 2015 2:26 pm

Cyber attacks cost global business over £200bn a year - with finance industry hit worst

Cybercrime is hitting businesses hard, with attacks costing billions every year, and the finance sector is worst exposed as one in four businesses were victims of attacks in the past year.

Some 15 per cent of businesses have faced a cyber attack in the past year, with the EU region hit worst, global survey Grant Thornton International Business Report reveals.

The attacks are costing global business over £200bn a year, with the financial industry bearing the brunt of the weight. The finance sector worries more than any other about the threat of cybercrime, with three in four businesses reporting it as a source of concern. It’s also the industry most likely to be targeted by hackers, with 26 per cent of financial businesses victims of attacks in the past year.

Despite the risks, only half of the businesses surveyed have a cyber security strategy, a figure which surprised Manu Sharma, head of cyber security and resilience at Grant Thornton:

Cyber attacks are an increasingly significant danger for business. Not just the costs in terms of financial penalties, but serious reputational damage and loss of customers and business can be inflicted if attacks undermine customer confidence.

The UK’s government has been stepping up its game in the fight against the growing risk of cybercrime. Recently, it classed cyber security as one of the four top threats against the UK, alongside natural disasters, international terrorism and a military invasion.

As the costs of cyber security are becoming more apparent, businesses have started taking the issue more seriously. A recent study showed that one in six new IT jobs created are in the cybersecurity field. Not a second too soon, according to Sharma:

Many of the perpetrators of cyber attacks are sophisticated, heavily resourced criminal organisations or could be state sponsored. As the digitisation of business continues, it is vital that businesses take the cyber threat as seriously as the criminals attempting to attack them. Otherwise, cyber attacks will continue to escalate in frequency and scale.

Vigilance alone won’t keep businesses safe. Proactive and detective measures are need to work together to minimise the threats.