96% of UK businesses experienced at least one major cyber attack over past year

A padlock laid on top of a circuit board.

The vast majority (96%) of UK organisations experienced at least one major cyber attack in the last 12 months, according to business and security executives surveyed by Forrester.

The research, commissioned by Tenable, found that 63% of the 103 UK respondents had witnessed a dramatic rise in business-impacting cyber attacks in the last two years.

In many cases, these attacks had severely damaging effects, from loss of employee data (44%) and financial loss or theft (36%), to customer attrition (34%).

Almost two thirds (65%) of the surveyed UK security leaders claimed that these attacks also involved operational technology (OT).

However, despite the widespread occurrence of cyber attacks, only four in 10 of these security leaders admitted to being able to answer the question “How secure, or at risk, are we?” with a high level of confidence.

The study found that security and business leaders who are aligned in measuring and managing cybersecurity as a strategic business risk are capable of delivering demonstrable results within their organisations.

Compared to their siloed counterparts, business-aligned security leaders were found to be eight times more likely to display a high level of confidence in their ability to report on their organisations’ level of security or risk, and three times more likely to have a holistic understanding of their organisation’s entire attack surface.

Commenting on the research, Renaud Deraison, CTO and co-founder of Tenable, predicted that “in the future, there will be two kinds of CISO – those who align themselves directly with the business and everyone else”.


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"The only way to thrive in this era of digital acceleration is to bring cyber into every business question, decision and investment. We believe this study shows that forward-leaning organisations view cybersecurity strategy as essential to innovation and that when security and the business work hand-in-glove, the results can be transformational,” he said.

Guy March, Tenable’s EMEA channel director, highlighted the important role of resellers, saying that they “play a vital role in helping security and business leaders align to better manage cybersecurity as a strategic business risk”.

Channel partners that can speak the language of both business and security leaders will certainly have an advantage in helping organisations navigate the growing number of relentless cyberattacks”, he added.

Sabina Weston

Having only graduated from City University in 2019, Sabina has already demonstrated her abilities as a keen writer and effective journalist. Currently a content writer for Drapers, Sabina spent a number of years writing for ITPro, specialising in networking and telecommunications, as well as charting the efforts of technology companies to improve their inclusion and diversity strategies, a topic close to her heart.

Sabina has also held a number of editorial roles at Harper's Bazaar, Cube Collective, and HighClouds.