UK companies “must do more” to tackle cyber threat

The UK’s top companies are not considering cyber risks in their decision-making processes, a new survey has revealed.

The Department for Business, Innovation & Skills’ survey of FTSE 350 companies shows that only 14% are regularly considering cyber threats, with a significant number not receiving any intelligence about cyber criminals.

However, 62% of companies think their Board members are taking the cyber risk very seriously, while 60% understand their key information and data assets.

Science minister David Willetts

Science minister David Willetts

Science minister David Willetts commented: “The cyber crime threat facing UK companies is increasing. Many are already taking this extremely seriously, but more still needs to be done. We are working with businesses to encourage them to make cyber security a Board-level responsibility.”

Development of an official ‘cyber standard’

To tackle the growing threat, the Government is working with industry to develop an official ‘cyber standard’ which will help stimulate the adoption of good cyber practices among business.

Backed by industry, the kitemark-style standard will be launched early next year as part of the £860 million cross-Government National Cyber Security Programme.

Willetts added: “The cyber standard will promote excellence in tackling cyber risks, help businesses better understand how to protect themselves and ultimately increase the nation’s collective cyber security.”

BIS’s cyber governance health check was sent to the chairs of the audit committee of the FTSE 350 companies in August 2013 via the six largest audit firms.

Each company which completed the survey will be offered follow-up advice from one of the firms based on their responses.

The anonymous results, published today by BIS, also show:

•25% of companies considered cyber a top risk
•39% had used the Government’s 10 steps of cyber security guidance
•56% have cyber on the risk register
•17% have clearly set what they see as an acceptable level of cyber risk

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