Call for Increased Awareness on Cyber Risks

November 26, 2013

The UK’s top companies are not considering cyber risks in their decision-making, a new survey from the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills has revealed.

The survey of FTSE 350 firms showed only 14% are regularly considering cyber threats, with a significant number not receiving any intelligence about cyber criminals. However, 62% of companies think their board members are taking the cyber risk very seriously, and 60% understand what their key information and data assets are.

David Willetts, Science Minister, said:

‘The cyber crime threat facing UK companies is increasing. Many are already taking this extremely seriously, but more still needs to be done. We are working with businesses to encourage them to make cyber security a board-level responsibility.’

To tackle the growing threat the government is working with industry to develop an official ‘cyber standard’ which will help stimulate the adoption of good cyber practices among business. Backed by industry, the kitemark-style standard will be launched early next year, as part of the £860 million cross-government National Cyber Security Programme.

Mr Willetts added:

‘The cyber standard will promote excellence in tackling cyber risks, help businesses better understand how to protect themselves, and ultimately increase the nation’s collective cyber security.’

BIS’s cyber governance health check was sent to the chairs of the audit committee of the FTSE 350 companies in August 2013 via the six largest audit firms.

Each company which completed the survey will be offered follow-up advice from one of the firms, based on their responses.

The anonymous results, published by BIS, also show:

  • 25% of companies considered cyber a top risk
  • 39% had used the government’s 10 steps cyber security guidance
  • 56% have cyber on the risk register
  • 17% have clearly set what they see as an acceptable level of cyber risk

To see the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills’s survey of the FTSE 350 go to cyber governance health check.

The cyber security organisational standards call for evidence was launched in March 2013.

Recent information shows that there is a very real threat of cyber crime. According to the 2013 Information Security Breaches survey 93% of large organisations suffered a security breach in 2012.

The Home Office’s Commercial Victimisation Survey also found there were 180,000 incidents of online crime against four major business sectors in 2012, 75% of which were virus-related.