UK security awareness ‘seriously flawed’

Data security

The UK needs to wise up about the need for IT protection as British small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are the most slack in the world when it comes to keeping security systems up to date, according to a report.

In the UK, 14 per cent of firms surveyed who had invested in a security system had not kept them updated a higher rate than any other country involved in Panda Security's International Barometer of Security in SMBs.

Security training is also not up to scratch, according to Panda Security, with less than half of UK firms not getting any basic training about avoiding threats.

"The lack of education surrounding security appears to be one of the key reasons that British SMBs are lagging behind other European countries when it comes to installing and updating security systems," Luis Corrons, technical director of Panda Security, told IT PRO.

"Awareness about protection is crucial and UK businesses run the risk of falling prey to cyber criminals if staff are not educated on the importance of security."

In terms of how infections are making their way into UK systems, the report found the most likely source is from either USB devices or via the internet, which accounted for a third of infections each.

A report from Unisys earlier this year also found the UK did not truly appreciate the importance of internet security, even though residents were clearly concerned about identity theft.

Despite these worrying signs for the nation, 15 per cent of UK respondents to the Panda Security poll said their investment in security had significantly increased, compared to the European average of only five per cent.

As for global concerns, Corrons noted anti-virus (AV) software is not enough on its own to protect organisations from the "more sophisticated threats".

While 96 per cent of the 10,500 worldwide respondents said they had AV, 46 per cent still experienced an infection carried over the internet.

Tom Brewster

Tom Brewster is currently an associate editor at Forbes and an award-winning journalist who covers cyber security, surveillance, and privacy. Starting his career at ITPro as a staff writer and working up to a senior staff writer role, Tom has been covering the tech industry for more than ten years and is considered one of the leading journalists in his specialism.

He is a proud alum of the University of Sheffield where he secured an undergraduate degree in English Literature before undertaking a certification from General Assembly in web development.