Cyber security is a business issue, not a technology issue

Cyber security is at the top of the agenda for many UK businesses. This is why we recently worked with Vanson Bourne to survey how British companies approach the issue, and what they are doing to ensure they are mitigating the risks of a breach.

Earlier this month, we shared the top findings from the survey during our first Cyber Security Breakfast Briefing at the Churchill War Rooms in London, where speakers included our General Manager Kristine Olson-Chapman, as well as Director of Partners Alex Tempest and Chief Security Officer, George Thompson. This was followed up with a webinar where we discussed the research, and spoke to our customers about their attitudes towards staying safe online.

Scale of the issue

The results of the research uncovered the growing scale of issues around cyber security, with at least 50% of businesses reporting that they had experienced a cyber attack in the last year alone. It is then no surprise that 39% of businesses polled said that they are ‘more concerned’ about cyber security than they had been at the same time last year. The research also found that almost three quarters of companies feel they are currently secure when it comes to digital threats, and 10% reported that they did not know if there had been a cyber attack at their work or not over the previous 12 months.

However, this stands in contrast with our findings from polling business owners earlier this month. Cyber security is a very real issue for businesses and their partners, as we found that businesses’ perception of the threat of cyber attacks is lower than the true scale of the issue.

Business problem, not an IT problem

One of the key learnings from the survey and event is that this is more than just a technological issue; it is an issue which needs to be managed across the whole business. 70% of businesses said that responsibility for cyber security lay with their IT department. However, for a business to truly understand how to mitigate risk successfully, the whole company needs to be engaged with the issue at hand.

As a business, asking “are we safe” doesn’t appreciate that companies can never be 100% secure online. Cyber security needs to be about understanding what risks are being taken by what the business is both doing, and not doing. Encouraging everyone within a business to think about safe processes and being responsible with digital assets will allow the company to robustly respond to new threats and to manage any attacks that occur, quickly.

The breakfast briefing and webinars have enabled us to share what we have learnt about approaching cyber security with a broader mind set, helping companies encourage more employees to think about their digital work.

There will be a whitepaper to follow, looking more closely at the research data, as well as a second blog post from our Chief Security Officer, George Thompson, giving businesses practical advice on how they can keep themselves safe online.