Cybersecurity ranked as UK manufacturing’s largest technology priority

Cyber-threats associated with industry's digital revolution could potentially become major barriers in future business growth, according to new research.

A new study surveying companies across 18 industries has revealed which technologies will be business priorities in 2020.

The threat of a cyber-attack was rated as the leading concern for UK companies, and an imminent danger that “could potentially become a major barrier in business growth,” according to the research, published by Softcat.

CROP - Online Data Security Concept CyberAttack CyberCrime CyberSecurity - image courtesy of Depositphotos.

UK firms who have reported a cyber-breach leapt from 40% in 2018 to 55% in 2019, according to research from insurance provider, Hiscox.

End-User Computing (EUC) and mobility followed closely on the heels of cybersecurity, ranking as the second highest priority for UK manufacturers in the coming year.

EUC and mobility refers to the quality of experience of the end-user or personnel working remotely.

It’s currently estimated that more than two-thirds of global employees now work out of the office, according to Switzerland-based serviced office provider IWG.

The rise of flexible and remote working working is adding increased urgency for companies to offer employees secure and optimised anywhere, anytime access to systems and information.

“Investing in security not only reduces risk, but enables organisations to take advantage of new technologies more rapidly.”

Networking, software and asset management, and communication are mid-range concerns for UK manufacturing, with investment in the company’s data centre and cloud computing not far behind.

Investment in emerging technologies like big data analytics, the IoT (internet of things), and AI (artificial intelligence) was reported as the lowest priority for industry, with many organisations ranking utility technologies slightly higher.

It’s surprising to see emerging technologies are the second lowest tech priority for the third year running, despite the widespread coverage and government investment dedicated to cementing the UK’s leading global position in exactly these areas.

Government and industry fortify UK business from hackers

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) recently announced a raft of investment projects backed by industry, designed to thwart online threats from malign actors who could cause revenue and reputational harm to areas of advanced technology and UK defence systems.

In the next phase of its Digital Security by Design initiative, backed by Google and Microsoft, the government joined forces with software developer ARM and plunged £36m in a project to develop new chip technologies that are reportedly more resistant to cyber-attack.

The average cost to business of a single IT breach that results in a loss of data or assets has increased by more than £1,000 since 2018 to £4,180, according to BEIS. And while strong passwords and regular software updates are an adequate defence for the public, a more robust solution is needed to defend vital areas of British industry.

New chip technologies coming from the project have “the potential to prevent hackers from remotely taking control of computer systems, as well as targeting cyber-attacks and breaches”, said BEIS. Adding that greater protections would enable “new business opportunities and help boost productivity”.


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By Rory Butler, Staff Journalist

*Image courtesy of DepositPhotos.