Fear of cyber attacks growing among SMEs

The rapid increase of cyber attacks aimed at smaller businesses has shown the diverse target online crime is aiming at. A survey by the Business Continuity Institute (BCI) revealed that 71 per cent of businesses see the use of the internet for malicious attacks as a major trend that requires a business continuity response. Less than half seek to manage the prevalence and high adoption of internet-dependent services, such as the cloud, within their preparedness activities.

The BCI survey questioned 730 organisations from various sectors, throughout 62 countries.

The level of concern across sectors and geography over a cyber attack is a major challenge for public policy makers and board rooms. More needs to be done to gain a better understanding of the threat.

“The dominance of technology and internet-related threats and trends in this year’s survey mirrors events we have seen in the real world recently with, for example, PayPal, RIM, O2 and RBS. The high level of concern over a cyber attack may well be misplaced but it demands a considered independent analysis of the threat to avoid hype and disillusionment, and ensure a proportionate response is in place,” said Lyndon Bird, technical director at BCI.

In the suspense of such an attack, companies hesitate over using social media and other internet-dependent forms of data sharing. This might even relate to the cloud, something most companies may need to rely on this year.

The leading threat of concern in 2013 is unplanned IT and telecom outages; some 70 per cent of companies stated their concern about this threat. The concern over a data breach was not too far behind.

Howard Kerr, chief executive at BSI, commented that “this latest report shows that businesses need to be more prepared than ever for every type of risk. The top five threats highlight that the digital age is continuing to bring new challenges to organisations around the world. In order to counter this, cyber resilience must become part of an organisations wider business resilience strategy.”

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