Quarter of British businesses have no protection against a potential cyber attack

British businesses that don't consider online security are leaving themselves open to a potential cyber attack, a new study reveals.

British businesses have left themselves open to the clear and present danger of a cyber attack, according to a new report.

The independent research carried out by Advanced, a software and services provider, also reveals that nearly half (46 percent) claim that data security is not a deciding factor in adopting digital technology. This is despite recent government research into cyber security which found that two thirds of businesses experienced a cyber attack or breach in the past year.

Tom Thackray, CBI director for innovation, thinks that digital innovation presents a huge opportunity for companies and our economy, but it also goes hand in hand with a need for greater emphasis on cyber security.

He adds, ‘It’s important that businesses in all sectors – from manufacturing to retail – truly understand digital technology’s potential, from the boardroom to the shop or factory floor.

‘As a society, we’ve seen a seismic shift in gear in the security space in the past year which is affecting every citizen of the UK. These issues are no longer reserved for ‘tech geeks’, every business and individual must now keep up with the significant problems arising from organised digital crime.’

Advanced’s inaugural Trends Report 2016 surveyed over 1,000 professionals across the UK business community during October 2016. The survey aimed to identify the state of readiness amongst British businesses in the face of serious digital disruption, while highlighting the ingredients needed to compete and be successful in this era.

As well as highlighting serious gaps in preparing for a cyber attack, the survey also highlighted three key trends around the state of business readiness: economic, digital and customer.

Gordon Wilson, CEO of Advanced, says, ‘It’s clear from these findings that businesses are grappling with the level of change. Given the numerous examples of high profile businesses being crippled by cyber-attacks, it raises the question as to why this isn’t at the top of the priority list for every business leader.’

Leadership Readiness

The state of readiness amongst industry leaders came under the spotlight in the survey as just 45 per cent of respondents state they have a ‘strong digital skillset’ in their compnay, while only a third say they have a ‘digital first vision’.

Gordon concludes, ‘Business leaders need to up their digital game. It appears that they are failing to recognise the need to adapt their mindset and transform their leadership strategy to tackle the changes effectively in this digital era.

‘Although an openness and ability to reimagine their business is vital, if it isn’t combined with a strong digital DNA, they will be left vulnerable to new threats and struggle to survive, let alone grow and prosper.’

Customer Readiness

Two-thirds of those organisations surveyed (67 per cent) admit to feeling pressure from customers to deliver a more digital face to their service via social media, while less than half of respondents (45 per cent) use social media to innovate in the way they interact with customers.

One third of businesses don’t know whether social media has enabled them to improve their customer interactions, or whether their customers use social media to complain.

Nearly all (93 per cent) believe a connected digital infrastructure is important to anticipate and service customer needs. More than half (55 per cent) believe their IT infrastructure limits their ability to respond quickly to customer issues.

Britain’s Overall Digital Readiness

Businesses are worryingly unprepared for the implications of digital disruption with  85 per cent of those in the public sector believing the government has not provided enough budget to successfully implement its digital agenda.

In addition, 30 per cent do not have access to real-time information, although 84 per cent believe that such information allows for faster, more informed decision making and 70 per cent believe automation of manual tasks would free up valuable time to focus on value added services.

Further reading on internet security

Owen Gough, SmallBusiness UK

Owen Gough

Owen was a reporter for Bonhill Group plc writing across the Smallbusiness.co.uk and Growthbusiness.co.uk titles before moving on to be a Digital Technology reporter for the Express.co.uk.

Related Topics

Cyber Attacks