Press release

UK companies must do more to tackle cyber threat

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

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

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The UK’s top companies are not considering cyber risks in their decision making, a new survey from the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills has revealed.

The survey of FTSE 350 firms showed 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, and 60% understand what their key information and data assets are.

David Willetts, Science Minister, said:

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.

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.

Mr 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 6 largest audit firms.

Each company which completed the survey will be offered follow-up advice from 1 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 cyber security guidance
  • 56% have cyber on the risk register
  • 17% have clearly set what they see as an acceptable level of cyber risk

Notes to editors:

  1. To see the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills’s survey of the FTSE 350 go to cyber governance health check.

  2. The cyber security organisational standards call for evidence which was launched in March 2013.

  3. Recent information shows that there is a very real threat of cyber crime. According to the 2013 Information Security Breaches survey 93% of large organisations suffered a security breach in 2012.

  4. The Home Office’s Commercial Victimisation Survey also found there were 180,000 incidents of online crime against 4 major business sectors in 2012, 75% of which were virus-related.

  5. The government’s economic policy objective is to achieve ‘strong, sustainable and balanced growth that is more evenly shared across the country and between industries’. It set 4 ambitions in the ‘Plan for Growth’, published at Budget 2011:

  • to create the most competitive tax system in the G20
  • to make the UK the best place in Europe to start, finance and grow a business
  • to encourage investment and exports as a route to a more balanced economy
  • to create a more educated workforce that is the most flexible in Europe

Work is underway across government to achieve these ambitions, including progress on more than 250 measures as part of the Growth Review. Developing an Industrial Strategy gives new impetus to this work by providing businesses, investors and the public with more clarity about the long-term direction in which the government wants the economy to travel.

Published 26 November 2013