Top firms in Britain urgently need to do more to protect themselves from online threats, according to new Government research and a ‘cyber health check’.
The survey of the UK’s biggest 350 companies found more than two thirds of boards had not received training to deal with a cyber incident (68%) despite more than half saying cyber threats were a top risk to their business (54%).
One in ten FTSE 350 companies said they operate without a response plan for a cyber incident (10%) and less than a third of boards receive comprehensive cyber risk information (31%).
Minister for digital, Matt Hancock commented: “We have world leading businesses and a thriving charity sector but recent cyber attacks have shown the devastating effects of not getting our approach to cyber security right.
“These new reports show we have a long way to go until all our organisations are adopting best practice and I urge all senior executives to work with the National Cyber Security Centre and take up the government’s advice and training.”
There has been progress in some areas when compared with last year’s health check, with more than half of company boards now setting out their approach to cyber risks (53% up from 33%) and more than half of businesses having a clear understanding of the impact of a cyber-attack (57% up from 49%).
The government is fully committed to defending against cyber threats and a five-year National Cyber Security Strategy (NCSS) was announced in November 2016, supported by £1.9bn of transformational investment. This includes opening the National Cyber Security Centre and offering free online advice as well as training schemes to help businesses protect themselves.
The 10 Steps to Cyber Security guide sets out a comprehensive framework to help company boards manage cyber risks, from getting the basics right through to protecting their most critical assets, and the Cyber Essentials scheme sets out the technical basics all companies should have in place.
Government also announced proposals on how to help the nation’s essential industries be more resilient to cyber threats through the NIS Directive.
Alex Dewdney, NCSC director for engagement, said:” The NCSC is committed to making the UK the safest place in the world to live and do business online. We know that we can’t do this alone – everyone has a part to play. That’s why we’re committed to providing organisations with expert advice through our website and direct engagement.
“We also urge organisations to follow the guidance in the government’s Cyber Essentials Scheme.”
The government will soon be introducing its new Data Protection Bill to Parliament. With this coming into effect next May, implementing the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the report for the first time included questions about data protection.
The new data protection law will strengthen the rights of individuals and provide them with more control over how their personal data is being used.