A majority of British businesses are convinced that they won’t fall victim to a damaging cyber attack, despite that fact that high-profile hacking incidents are increasingly grabbing headlines in the UK and around the world.

That’s according to research conducted by the identity and access management firm Ilex International, which is warning that there is a potentially perilous overconfidence among UK enterprises when it comes to cyber security matters.

“With the UK being a leading economic centre and a major target for cyber attacks, the high confidence level is worrying and completely misplaced,” comments Thierry Bettini, director of international strategy at Ilex International, which has put together what it calls a Breach Confidence Index based on its research on the subject.

The research carried out on Ilex’s behalf by YouGov found that just less than 50 percent of IT executives in the UK feel confident that their organisation hasn’t been the victim of any sort of cyber security breach.

However, most experts would suggest that this figure is unlikely to offer an accurate picture of the extent to which British companies are being targeted by hackers and cyber criminals.

“Businesses must come to terms with the reality of data security breaches,” said Bettini. “If they don’t think they have been targeted yet, they will be and need to be prepared.”

Cyber security experts are warning that the scale at which UK companies are being targeted by hackers is on the rise and is costing businesses of all sizes more and more money with every year that goes by. In fact, the latest figures show that dealing with the ramifications of cyber crime is already costing British businesses billions of pounds each year.

In recent weeks, the British ISP and telecoms company TalkTalk revealed that it had been the victim of a “significant and sustained” cyber attack and that the bank details of close to 21,000 of its customers had been compromised in the process. The incident saw the publicly-traded company’s share price take a very considerable downturn.

Worryingly perhaps for anyone concerned about the preparedness of UK enterprises in this context, TalkTalk’s chief executive Dido Harding suggested during an interview with the Guardian newspaper recently that her company is “head and shoulders better” than some of its competitors when it comes to cyber defences and data protection.

Part of the problem as things stand is that the cyber security strategies of many British organisations are not holistic or proactive enough to be reliably effective, according to Bettini from Ilex International.

“As technology evolves and brings new security risks, businesses should be doing all they can to educate employees on security best practices and tighten access to sensitive data,” he says.

Mark Halstead Redflag
Mark Halstead of Redflag Alert
Mark joined Begbies Traynor in 2004, and launched the 1st version of RedFlagAlert.com; since then we have enjoyed tremendous success working within the UK Accountancy, Banking and Law communities, where RFA is a well-established product, in 2009 we decided to broaden our products and services and launch the new Red Flag Alert services that are available to all today; Mark has enjoyed a varied working life from small family business to careers with William Hill Plc and Bank of Scotland before joining Red Flag Alert.

Ryan De Souza

Ryan is a London-based member of the HackRead's Editorial team. A graduate of Maths and physics with a passion for geopolitics and human rights. Ryan places integrity at the pinnacle of successful journalism and believes this is somewhat lacking in traditional media. Ryan is an educator who balances his time between family, social activism and humanitarian causes and his vice is Football and cars.