British Cyber Security Spending Is Rising

Two thirds of British based organisations will increase their cyber security budgets in 2021, despite the financial problems arising from the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a survey of cyber security decision-makers. 

This is because of the likely increase in cyber attacks in 2021, according to new research from NCC GroupTheir Report reveals that just 7% of respondents from public and private sector organisations anticipate overall budgetary cuts, suggesting a widespread determination to maintain cyber security spending amid an increasingly complex threat landscape.

However, 27% reported cuts to cyber security budgets in 2020, and three in 10 reported delays or cancellations to cyber security projects. The average UK cyber security budget is around $900,000, compared to an average of $1.46 million globally, according to Hiscox. 

The government has been urged to pump more money into cyber defences after new research revealed that more than 1m small businesses would collapse if they were targeted by hackers.A poll of more than 500 business leaders found nearly a quarter of UK SMEs, equivalent to 1.3m companies, were likely to go bust if they were forced to deal with the average cost of a cyber attack. Furthermore, a survey of 290 senior cybersecurity  professionals suggests that many security teams are actually downsizing because of the Coronavirus pandemic, which has simultaneously increased their workload

Only about thirty percent of UK organisations have done a cyber risk assessment in the last 12 months, according to the UK Government's report into cyber security breaches.

  • With Covid-19 being exploited by cyber criminals and forcing hasty migrations to remote working, 40% of organisations have frozen new cyber security  recruitment.
  • While 29% made redundancies, and 20% have furloughed staff.
  • 30% have experienced delays or cancellations to their cyber resilience projects.
  • 27% have reported actual cuts to their cyber security budgets. 

The data also suggests that these measures could have negatively affected cyber security resilience:

  • 70% of organisations that cut budgets, made redundancies or delayed or canceled their cyber projects reported an increase in cyber attacks. 

This operational shift also exposed concerns about the impact of people on cyber resilience:

  • Of the 39% that reported an increase in insider threats, 51% believed that an increase in remote working was the cause. 
  • Over 60% of decision makers claimed that they would increase the total amount spent on cyber security this year, with ‘making security improvements’ the highest priority area for investment.
  • 30% of UK business say they lost clients after a data breach and that nearly 40% of US organisations lost business because of security issues.
  • 66% of those polled said they planned to plug the gap with outsourcing in 2021, 50% of whom cited recruitment and retention as a key motive amid the world’s cyber skills shortages.

The NCC Group survey finds that those organisations that cut budgets or the size of their teams were more likely to suffered cyber attacks in general, while many respondents blamed home working for rises in insider threats and phishing and ransomware attacks. 

The proportion of those polled who considered their employer ‘very resilient’ fell from nearly half to 38% year on year.

  •  90% expressed confidence that they could promptly diagnose and remediate the root cause of a potential data breach and alert authorities within 72 hours, in comliance with  General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) 
  • 49% of organisations scanned their network perimeter frequently.
  • 50% say that it is taking a week or more to patch vulnerabilities, while only 21% said all network-connected devices were regularly patched.
  • Understanding the threat landscape (70%) and securing funding (68%) were seen as the two biggest challenges currently facing organisations.

Decision-makers were far from bullish about surmounting these hurdles: 

  •  71% admitted to being ‘not confident’ about improving their organisation’s cybersecurity preparedness. 
  •  90% admitted to struggling to evaluate the costs and benefits of cyber security measures.
  •  31% agreed that benchmarking security activities was an effective solution.
  • 18% of UK organisations say that they don’t know how many cyber attacks they suffered in 2020.

Security incidents are costing organisations more than ever and 79% of UK companies have suffered down-time because of them. 

Growth within the cyber security sector has been driven considerably within the last two years by the introduction of the GDPR and enhanced business understanding of the risks and potential consequences of failing to store data securely.  New initiatives such as the NCSC sponsored Cyber Essentials programme have increased demand for cyber security advisory support across the UK economy.

These measures can only lead to better ways of maintaining effective cyber security and a more widespead recognition of its central place in doing business securely. 
 

NCC Group:      GovUK:       PWC:        CSO:     City AM:     Portswigger:      Image: Unsplash

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If you would like more advice and recommendations about how you can improve your business cyber security, please contact Cyber Security Intelligence.

 

 

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