Even the best-run company can suffer from data breaches

Fujitsu’s latest report claims 70 per cent of business leaders believe the UK has transformed due to technology. Generally, Fujitsu suggests, employers were happy with its influence on the workplace, but there were concerns around its quick progress too.

Chief among those concerns was cyber security. Sarah Armstrong-Smith, head of continuity and resilience at Fujitsu UK & Ireland, as well as part of the research team, suggested their worries were well-placed.

“That 74 per cent of ‘privacy-immature’ organisations experienced £350,000 worth of losses last year due to data breaches makes one thing clear: the potential cost of suffering a major hack is enormous.”

The statistics cited by Armstrong-Smith comes from a Cisco report, which analysed the thoughts of 3,000 employees around their company’s privacy processes. It suggests that “privacy-mature” companies, those with cyber security firmly in place, face fewer customer issues.

Cisco added: “Good data practices go beyond GDPR compliance and cyber security effectiveness.” Such firms benefit from financial opportunities and have decreased “delays to the sales cycle”.

However, even well-secured companies can’t stop data breaches. Armstrong-Smith points to Fujitsu’s own research, claryfying that increased cyber crime figures aren’t entirely the blame of companies. A fifth of bosses believe cyber crime is currently the UK’s biggest challenge.

“Employers have realised they have an obligation to make data protection as much of a priority as the public, who are regularly asked to hand over financial and other personal data,” she said. “But while organisational awareness of potential data breaches is on the rise, online criminals are finding new and creative ways to dupe people into compromising sensitive information.

“This means ‘unusual behaviour’ is getting harder to detect and might not seem unusual at all. And with employees on the front line of this battle, more must be done to improve user awareness and training – especially of regulations like GDPR which should help gain more control of the data we all hold.”

She added: “Even the best-run company could suffer from a hack or data breach. The ripple effects of an attack no longer stay within the four walls of an organisation.”

There are ways to mitigate the risk of being a traget though, claimed Armstrong-Smith. Upskilling employees and making them more cyber aware will reduce the probability and impact of human error.

“But it won’t work as a standalone policy,” she concluded. “Organisations need to continue to invest in technical and security controls, whilst doing more to proactively identify and manage threats instead of waiting for breaches to happen. It’s time bosses rethink their approach and stop defying cyber security practices.”

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