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UK bosses can identify fewer digital risks than French and German counterparts

Any company doing business online faces the possibility of being hacked. But while UK bosses acknowledge the need for strategy to mitigate digital risks, they believe most cyber issues don't apply to them in the first place.
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Hoping to eradicate the UK’s “it won’t happen to me” business attitude, Gowling WLG compared how British bosses tackle digital risks to leaders in big-time rival nations Germany and France.

What it found was a lack of knowledge by UK bosses to identify which digital risks would truly compromise their companies.

For example, while 32 per cent of firms felt digital risks related to regulatory issues would increase, only 29 per cent of those thought it would cause issues for their business. 

While 55 per cent cited digital risks around sensitive/valuable data to be the most concerning, only 14 per cent knew what GDPR fines they could face for failing to keep that data secure. This number rose to 45 per cent, however, in France.

When it came to all three countries, only 40 per cent of bosses identified their own lack of knowledge as a hindrance.

This was problematic, Helen Davenport, director at Gowling WLG, suggested: “Recent wide ranging external cyber attacks such as the Wannacry and Petya reinforce the real and immediate threat of cyber crime to all organisations and businesses.

“However, most business leaders tend to believe they’re the exception. And while they anticipate external cyber attacks will increase over the next three years, they also strangely fail to identify such digital risks as a concern. This is likely preventing them from preparing suitably for emerging and future digital threats.”

Looking closer at the data, external cyber risks were thought to be the biggest concern by 69 per cent of all respondents. This risk, they claimed, would likely escalate – 51 per cent claimedthe next three years would see a revolution in the means used by criminals to extract data.

Other digital risks raised as concerns included customer security (57 per cent), identity theft/cloning (47 per cent) and rogue staff (42 per cent).

Gowling WLG crowned France the most knowledgable of the three when it came to current cyber strategies.

Some 52 per cent of UK businesses do regular data back-ups, compared to 66 per cent in Germany and 67 per cent in France. And while 32 per cent of UK businesses use off-site storage for sensitive data, the number increases to 50 per cent for French businesses.

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About Author

Shané Schutte

Shané Schutte is a senior reporter at Real Business, with a particular specialism in employment and business law, human resources, information technology and sales/marketing.

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