Isolationist approach leaves UK firms exposed to cyber-threats

19 June 2020 3 min. read
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Business in the UK are faster than the global average when it comes to spotting data breaches, but failing to address them in a timely manner. This is partly due to an isolated approach to cyber-security, with many firms reluctant to share best-practices with others despite a third of security breaches coming via indirect attacks on partner ecosystems.

According to an Accenture report in collaboration with the World Economic Forum, between 2019 and 2023, approximately $5.2 trillion in global value will be at risk from cyber-attacks, creating an on-going challenge for corporations and investors alike. In the UK meanwhile, the latest figures from Statista estimate that British businesses lose an average of £1,410 per cyber-attack, with that figure sitting at £9,130 for large businesses.

The huge risks posed by hackers mean businesses have ramped up their cyber-security efforts in recent years – however according to a new report, while organisations are faster to spot breaches now, many still fail to address them quickly. The Accenture survey of UK companies found that almost half of UK organisations can spot a data breach within a day, greater than the global average of one-third. Responding to them is another question though.

Isolationist approach leaves UK firms exposed to cyber-threats

When it comes to putting a stop to attacks, UK businesses lag behind the rest of the pack. Accenture found that only 18% of companies believe they can effectively stop an attack before it causes serious damage – far less than 27% of entities in the US or Singapore and the 22% in Italy. One of the reasons UK companies are struggling to defend themselves, according to the study, is their isolated approach to cyber-security.

Nick Taylor, Security Lead for Accenture UK & Ireland, said of the findings, “Our research has uncovered some fundamental vulnerabilities still plaguing UK organisations. These must be addressed now, particularly as the Covid-19 crisis is putting pressure on security teams.”

Just four in 10 UK businesses collaborate with strategic partners to test their resilience, while the worldwide average sits at 50%. At the same time, UK firms are also less likely to share threat knowledge – an outdated dog-eat-dog attitude to business which leaves them exposed to the fact that 38% of security breaches happen as a result of indirect attacks through the partner ecosystem.

“Trying to go it alone and neglecting the basics as we enter this never normal era puts UK businesses at risk of falling behind," Taylor added. “Increased remote working will likely become business as usual, requiring teams to scale the security measures they may have temporarily put in place. Resilience teams will also need to build continuity into every operation, and with budgets tighter than ever, they will have to invest wisely and make the most of the tools available.”