The seriousness of the cyber threat was made clear by new report which estimated that nearly half of UK firms lack advanced cyber defences, despite the high level of concern about a cyber attack.
Cyber security incidents cost UK firms £34.1bn in the past year, but under half have enhanced defences, a survey commissioned by business internet service provider (ISP) Beaming has revealed. The most serious threats, according to Beaming, are managing malware which cost £7.5bn last year, while data theft incidents cost £6.2bn, compared with the estimated financial impact of burglary over the same period of £5.8bn.
A recent study showed that SMEs are in fact most vulnerable to cyber attack, and so the shortage of qualified people will be felt especially keenly by small firms.
The study also highlighted that UK bosses rank computer viruses and data theft as the biggest security threats to their businesses. but in terms of protecting themselves, only that 44% of firms have only basic levels of protection in place for the risk. One in eight admitted that their IT infrastructure had been damaged by malware in the past 12 months, costing an average of £10,516 in time and money spent managing each incident.
Skills gap on the rise
Meanwhile, growing cyber skills gap is set to have major consequences for UK businesses, according to a new study. More than 75% of the CIOs that took part in the Robert Half survey said they believed unless something serious was done, their businesses wouldn’t have the skills to cope with a cyber attack.
“There is no doubt that highly specialised skills are vital,” Neil Owen, director of Robert Half Technology said.
“But the ability to clearly articulate cyber security issues in a language that senior management and non-IT employees understand will not only increase security awareness but also enhance the reputation of the IT department as business partners who add value across the business.”
A closer look at the research showed that particular digital skills are becoming more valued. The most in demand skills are cloud security, with 51 per cent of CIOs ranking it as the most important; then IT security technologies (47%) and data analytics (37%) follow on behind. According to RHI, cloud security, IT security technologies and security architecture are the hardest positions to fill, creating the skills gap is growing more serious everyday.