A new survey by business insurance provider Hiscox reveals that more than half of British companies reported to have been hit by cyber-attacks in 2019.
The insurer, in its cyber readiness report 2019, found that there has been a surge in UK firms reporting cyber-attacks, although most of them admitted that they are not fully prepared for breaches.
Hiscox survey revealed that 55% of the firms had been subjected to an attack in 2019. In the previous year, the proportion of firms reporting the same was 40%.
However, the insurer said that nearly three quarters of companies were ranked as “novices” as far as cyber readiness is concerned. The insurer further said that a number of businesses incorrectly thought that they were not at risk of cyber-attacks.
Overall, Hiscox’s cyber readiness survey featured 5,400 firms in the UK, the US, Belgium, France, Spain, Germany and the Netherlands to evaluate cyber security.
The insurer has noted a surge in the number of cyber-attacks in 2019, with more than 60% of companies reporting one or more attacks. In 2018, the figure for the same was 45%. In line with that, average losses resulting from cyber breaches shot up by 61% from £176,000 to £283,722.
Hiscox disclosed that the percentage of companies getting top marks on cyber security had dropped, with UK organisations, in particular not being up to the mark.
British firms were found to have the lowest cyber security budgets, putting in less than £692,005 on average in comparison to £1.12m spent by firms in the other six countries.
On the brighter side, the insurer said that the average cost of a cyber-attack in the UK was less than average at £186,840, in comparison to £696,620 in Germany and £373,680 in Belgium.
New regulation in the UK is said to have prompted action, said the insurer, with eight of the 10 firms surveyed in the country revealing that they had made changes following the introduction of stringent new EU data protection rules in 2018.
Hiscox Cyber CEO Gareth Wharton said: “Where hackers formerly focused on larger companies, small and medium-sized firms now look equally vulnerable. The cyber threat has become the unavoidable cost of doing business today.”