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UK businesses ‘sleepwalking into reputational time bomb’: BSI

UK businesses are at risk of sleepwalking into a reputational time bomb due a lack of awareness on how to protect their data assets, according to research released by BSI. As cyber hackers become more complex and sophisticated in their methods, UK organizations are being urged to strengthen their security systems to protect both themselves and consumers.

The BSI survey of IT decision makers found that cyber security is a growing concern with over half (56 percent) of UK businesses being more concerned than 12 months ago. 7 in 10 (70 percent) attribute this to hackers becoming more skilled and better at targeting businesses.

However, whilst the vast majority (98 percent) of organizations have taken measures to minimize risks to their information security, only 12 percent are extremely confident about the security measures their organization has in place to defend against these attacks.

Worryingly, IT directors appear to have accepted the risks to their information security, with 9 in 10 (91 percent) admitting their organization has been a victim of a cyber-attack. Around half have experienced an attempted hack, and/or suffered from malware (49 percent in both instances). Around four in ten (42 percent) have experienced the installation of unauthorized software by trusted insiders, and nearly a third (30 percent) have suffered a loss of confidential information.

Managing risks key to protecting data assets

Despite the confidence in the security measures they have in place, 3 in 5 organizations have not provided staff with information security training; over a third (37 percent) have not installed anti-virus software; and just under half (49 percent) monitor their user’s access to applications, computers and software.

Conversely organizations that have implemented ISO 27001, the international Information Security Management System Standard, are more conscious about potential cyber-attacks than those who haven’t (56 percent vs. 12 percent). As such, 52 percent of organizations who have implemented ISO 27001 are extremely confident about their level of resilience against the latest methods of cyber hacking.

“The research revealed that businesses who can identify threats are more aware of them. Our experience confirms this, we know that organizations with ISO 27001 can better identify the threats and vulnerabilities to their information security and put in place appropriate controls to manage and mitigate risks,” said Mike Edwards, Information Security Specialist and Tutor at BSI.

Research interviews were conducted by Vanson Bourne with 200 IT decision makers in UK businesses (250-1000 employees).

•Date: 2nd December 2014 • UK •Type: Article • Topic: ISM

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