Majority of companies think they're protected against cyber crime

Cyber crime posted within binary code

The majority (83 per cent) of businesses feel confident their organisation is sufficiently protected against a data security breach, but they have been warned to avoid complacency in order to continue to fend off such attacks.

"Today we stand on the frontline of a virtual war," said The Rt Hon Michael Fallon MP, Ministry of Defence, at the 2015 Cyber Symposium. "And though the warheads launched are invisible, cyber is far from a theoretical threat. Our adversaries, whether revanchist Russia or evil ISIL are becoming ever more adept and determined to use cyber to force their advantage. Such dangers are only likely to grow."

Research collated by YouGov for Ilex revealed that malware vulnerabilities counted for almost a quarter of all weaknesses in businesses, while email security was a secondary concern and employee education, cloud applications, insider threats and access controls all featured high on the list of threats.

Large businesses, however, said there was a much bigger concern about insider threats (44 per cent), employee education (42 per cent) and access control (26 per cent), with BYOD policies and employees using their own mobile devices in the workplace accounting for 24 per cent of weaknesses in security infrastructure.

Fallon explained the cost of cybersecurity breaches to the UK economy roughly tripled over just the last year, taking the total up to a whopping 20 to 30 billion a year.

"It's important that businesses come to terms with the reality of data security breaches. If they don't think they have been targeted yet, they will be and need to be prepared," said Thierry Bettini, Director of International Strategy at Ilex International. "As technology evolves and brings new security risks, businesses should be doing all they can to educate."

Businesses should invest in digital technologies at the earliest opportunity in order to avoid much larger penalties later on when their security is breached, according to Fallon.

"We're putting our money where our mouse is - channelling more than 860 million into our National Cyber Security Programme. However, the story doesn't end here. Like the technology itself we must continually adapt," he said.

Clare Hopping
Freelance writer

Clare is the founder of Blue Cactus Digital, a digital marketing company that helps ethical and sustainability-focused businesses grow their customer base.

Prior to becoming a marketer, Clare was a journalist, working at a range of mobile device-focused outlets including Know Your Mobile before moving into freelance life.

As a freelance writer, she drew on her expertise in mobility to write features and guides for ITPro, as well as regularly writing news stories on a wide range of topics.