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Even With Mounting Threats, Some UK Businesses Still Falling Short on Cyber Security

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Even With Mounting Threats, Some UK Businesses Still Falling Short on Cyber Security

May 24, 2016
By Susan J. Campbell
TMCnet Contributing Editor

As our world continues to be more connected, as the daily headlines scream, it also becomes a breeding ground for those who aim to take advantage of vulnerabilities in networks. Companies of all sizes continue to be targets for cyberattacks as hackers gain access to proprietary information and consumer data. As profitable as these attacks tend to be, the outlook for relief for those charged with providing cyber security is dim.

In the UK, the government has announced plans to step up its efforts to ensure cyber security. According to a recent posting on Information Security Buzz, the government there plans to invest $2.75 million over the next five years to protect Britain from mounting cyberattacks. While cyber security is of growing importance throughout the world, a shortage of skilled professionals could increase the cost of protecting the enterprise from those hackers intent on targeting companies based in the UK.

Findings from a recent Information Security Buzz corporate survey suggest that IT leaders with organizations that employ 500 or more are bracing themselves for an ever-changing cyber security landscape. Of those surveyed for the Corporate Security in 2016 report, 81 percent shared that they experienced some form of data or security breach in 2015, pushing many to step up their efforts to protect their networks and their users.

The report also identified a number of trends emerging in the world of cyber threats and cyber security. For one, the biggest threat to corporate security are organized cyberattacks. However, while 54 percent report this reality, 43 percent of those who experienced a breach went on to acknowledge that they have yet to improve their cyber security measures or change their policies. These organizations are at severe risk for a repeat incident.

Another clear trend in the market is a lack of cyber skills for those charged with protecting networks.  40 percent of those surveyed report that they currently lack the necessary balance of cyber security skills within the IT department to adequately protect the organization from threats in the next year. Only 23 percent have plans to address this problem and improve the balance. Plans include a mix of online learning, classroom experiences and mentoring activities.

Even as threats continue to mount, technology budgets are under increasing pressure as those holding the purse strings are reducing the available dollars to invest in cyber security. Those companies who had experienced a previous breach were less likely to make investments than those who had not. Facing lower funding, many IT decision makers are seeking to improve the skill sets among current team members rather than hiring new. 

An imbalance definitely exists for those organizations in the UK trying to protect their networks and their users. While some appear to be playing the odds that they’ll be a target again, others are making the necessary investments to protect their infrastructure. As threats continue to mount, those taking the right steps to stay the course will be better positioned to survive attempts to gain access to information. Whether they’ve implemented the right strategy to stay a step or two ahead of hackers remains to be seen.

Edited by Peter Bernstein

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