Businesses face direct cyber-threat

Jim Hawkins of cyber-security firm C3IA Solutions

Businesses have been urged to address their cyber-security after new figures revealed how vulnerable they are.

C3IA Solutions, headquartered in Poole, Dorset, was reacting after a survey showed that only a quarter of firms view cyber-security as a top priority.

The figures from Direct Line Business Insurance also revealed that just 17 per cent of respondents didn’t see it as a priority at all.

However, 49 per cent said that their business had experienced a cyber-attack – with human error accounting for 42 per cent of the attacks; something that hardware and software alone can’t prevent.

Jim Hawkins from C3IA Solutions said: “These figures from Direct Line reflect what we see on a daily basis.

“While awareness of cyber security is greater than ever, many businesses – SMEs especially – leave themselves vulnerable to attack.

Cyber Essentials should be the starting point for all businesses – it is a government-backed scheme that will protect against the most common cyber threats.

“But staff training is also crucial because human error is still a major factor in attacks. Just a few pointers so staff recognise threats can be hugely effective.

“Plugging in external devices containing malware, clicking on malicious links in emails or within a website can infect systems, and divulging confidential information to others are all ways that staff can enable cyber-criminals.

“Weak passwords and a failure to change them regularly, and not updating software, will also lead to a business being more vulnerable.

“Cyber-attacks increased during lockdown and the risks to businesses are higher than ever. And because geography is no barrier to their actions, the criminals can be very  hard to catch.

“But if a business has good cyber-security it helps deter and detect criminals and can force them to move on to other organisations that are seen as easier targets.

“Sometimes businesspeople don’t appreciate the effect an attack will have until they are a victim.”

The Direct Line survey quizzed 2,000 UK adults, 175 of whom had decision-making responsibilities within their small business.