Nearly half of all UK businesses have experienced a cybersecurity incident over the last 12 months, according to a new government paper.
The Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2017 found that larger businesses were particularly at risk, with nearly 70% suffering a data breach or cyberattack, at a cost of around £20,000.
Nearly a quarter of businesses that had experienced a cybersecurity incident said it had resulted in a temporary loss of files, while a further fifth claimed to have software or other systems corrupted.
One in ten lost access to essential third-party systems, while the same number said their website had either been taken offline or slowed down.
The most common attacks involved fraudulent emails aiming to coax staff into revealing sensitive information or opening malicious attachments containing malware or viruses.
Businesses identified these types of breaches as the most disruptive, despite the existence of the Cyber Essentials scheme, which is backed by the UK government and aims to prevent common cyberattacks by offering relevant expert guidance.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the survey found that businesses holding electronic personal data on customers were much more likely to suffer a data breach that those that did not (51% compared to 37%).
Cyberattacks are widely regarded as one of the most significant threats to the UK’s digital economy, with the government subsequently investing £1.9 billion to help businesses deal with the problem.
Businesses themselves are just as concerned by the issue, with some three-quarters of all firms surveyed citing cybersecurity as a top priority.
Nevertheless, experts are adamant that UK businesses need to do more. Ciaran Martin, CEO of the National Cyber Security Centre, said: “The majority of successful cyberattacks are not that sophisticated but can cause serious commercial damage.
“By getting the basic defences right, businesses of every size can protect their reputation, finances and operating capabilities.”
However, finding the right members of staff could prove a tough task, with experts warning of a worldwide cybersecurity skills shortage, meaning that implementing the necessary measures could be tough.