Today the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) have released the 2019 Cyber Security Breaches Survey. Statistics within the report show a reduction in the percentage of businesses suffering a cyber breach or attack in the last year.
Key findings include:
- Percentage of businesses experiencing cyber breaches or attacks drops from 43% to 32%.
- New laws to strengthen data protection have had a positive impact on cyber security.
- Businesses and charities urged to train more people to help manage cyber risks.
The report suggests that reductions are partly due to the introduction of Data Protection Act and the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR). 30% of businesses and 36% of charities have made changes to their cyber security policies and processes as a result of GDPR coming into force in May 2018.
However, those organisations that were attacked saw the median number of associated breaches rise from 4 in 2018 to 6 in 2019. The report also suggests that the average cost of a cyber-attack has risen to £4,180. These figures illustrate that threats to organisations are persistent and continue to develop in terms of sophistication and scale.
Digital Minister Margot James said:
Following the introduction of new data protection laws in the UK it’s encouraging to see that business and charity leaders are taking cyber security more seriously than ever before. However, with less than three in ten of those companies having trained staff to deal with cyber threats, there’s still a long way to go to make sure that organisations are better protected.
We know that tackling cyber threats is not always at the top of business and charities list of things to do, but with the rising costs of attacks, it’s not something organisations can choose to ignore any longer.
Through the CyberFirst programme, the Government is working with industry and education to improve cyber security and get more young people interested in taking up a career in cyber. The Cyber Discovery initiative has already encouraged 46,000 14 to 18 year olds to get on a path towards the cyber security profession, over 1,800 students have attended free CyberFirst courses and nearly 12,000 girls have taken part in the CyberFirst Girls competition. The Government’s initial Cyber Skills Strategy, published in December, will be followed by a full strategy later this year.
Business and charity leaders are being encouraged to download the free small business guide and free small charity guide to help make sure that they don’t fall victim to cyber attacks. This is available through the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC).
Clare Gardiner, Director of Engagement at the NCSC, said:
We are committed to making the UK the safest place to live and do business online, and welcome the significant reduction in the number of businesses experiencing cyber breaches.
However, the cyber security landscape remains complex and continues to evolve, and organisations need to continue to be vigilant.
The NCSC has a range of products and services to assist businesses, charities and other organisations to protect themselves from cyber attacks, and to deal with attacks when they occur. These include the Board Toolkit providing advice to Board level leaders, and guides aimed at small businesses and small charities.
Small businesses and charities are being urged to take up tailored advice from the National Cyber Security Centre. All businesses should consider adopting the Ten Steps to Cyber Security, which provides a comprehensive approach to managing cyber risks. Implementation of the 10 Steps will help organisations reduce the likelihood and cost of a cyber attack or cyber related data breach.
Organisations can also raise their basic defences by enrolling on the Cyber Essentials initiative and following the regularly updated technical guidance on Cyber Security Information Sharing Partnership available on the NCSC website.
Talal Rajab, Head of Cyber and National Security, techUK said:
The figures within this report are a welcome indication that efforts to better protect organisations from cyber-attacks through regulation and awareness are having a positive effect. The changes in behaviour due to the introduction of the GDPR is reassuring and we should continue to see an upward curve in data protection amongst UK businesses over the coming years.
However, the report also illustrates that cyber-attacks are becoming increasingly costly to organisations who suffer serious breaches. This is a particularly acute threat to SMEs and charities, many of whom do not have the resources to spend significant sums on cyber products and solutions. We would encourage those organisations to utilise the guidance provided by NCSC and to enrol in schemes like Cyber Essentials to better prepare them for potential attacks.
The full report can be read here.