Only a third of British businesses have a financial plan in place in case of a cyber attack, according to a survey at Lloyds Bank. Meanwhile, only half of companies discuss the risk of cyber attacks at board level.

The survey found that, if attacked, over a third of firms would pay a ransom to get their data back, but only a quarter had dedicated cyber insurance. IT security experts commented below.

Bill Evans, Senior Director at One Identity: 

“Recently Lloyd’s Bank released some rather disturbing facts regarding UK business’ willingness and ability to respond to a cyberattack.  Notably, it claims that only 33% have a financial plan in place in case of a cyberattack and only half discuss cyber risk at the board level.

This is a real miss.  Security must be a board level discussion.  One need only look across any variety of news reporting agencies to understand why.  Reasons to make this a board level discussion include GPDR violations with their hefty fines, damage to brand in the court of public opinion, and loss of revenue as customer confidence wanes in the wake of a breach.

As we talk with customers, one of the reasons they oftentimes give for not making security a board level discussion is that it doesn’t drive revenue or margin.  It’s viewed as a “cost of doing business” and not worthy of being discussed in the rarified air of “mahogany row.”  As a response, we like to remind them that there are two types of businesses; those that have been breached and those that are about to be.  Then we follow on with, “if you think security is expensive, try being unsecure.”

Javvad Malik, Security Advocate at AlienVault:

Javvad Malik“When it comes to cyber attacks, calculating the potential financial impact is something that needs to be undertaken well in advance. Companies should implement threat detection controls based on critical assets and data. This will ensure that any attack is spotted in a timely manner.

The second aspect is the response that should be taken once an incident occurs. Again, the response steps should be planned in advance and based on the criticality of assets and data. For example, if an asset that contained personal information is compromised, the response plan would include notifying the relevant regulatory body. But if a test environment was attacked, the response could be as simple as re-imaging the servers.

By having a plan in advance based on business and information criticality, the cost of security controls can be managed, as well as response plans.”

Dr Anton Grashion, Managing Director, Security Practice at Cylance:

“This is a recurring theme in surveys of businesses. Cybersecurity insurance is just one of the measures organisations can deploy to deal with risk and is often associated with the irreducible amount of risk that is resistant to the other strategies of mitigation, sharing, and avoidance. Because a disproportionate share of the cost of a breach is concentrated in the business implications rather than in all the technical/OPEX heavy responses to a breach is seems to make perfect sense that a great deal of effort should be concentrated on a prevention strategy first and foremost. While this has proved problematical in the past utilising legacy security tools, new AI and ML technologies can be deployed to stop the first domino from falling and thus proving the adage that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

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