A report conducted across the US, UK and mainland Europe has found many firms are spending more on cybersecurity to combat growing threats in cyberspace.
The 2021 Cyber Readiness Report – led by Hiscox with polling from Forester Consulting – saw over 6,000 companies across the US, the UK, France, Germany, Spain, Ireland, Belgium and the Netherlands polled to examine the effectiveness of cybersecurity strategies.
The report found companies in the UK and Europe doubled cybersecurity spending in 2020 by 39%, with this climb in funding causing a drop in cyberattacks in general from 61% to 39% from 2019 to 2020. These firms said they plan to continue spending on this matter going forward, with many saying they responded to breaches by adding new security measures and spending on employee training.
According to the report, businesses were targeted more often in 2020 than in 2019, with 28% of the companies who suffered cyberattacks in 2020 being targeted on more than five occasions.
Close to half of the respondents claimed they felt their company had become more vulnerable to cyberattacks since the Covid-19 pandemic began. The report highlighted the total cyber losses among the affected businesses were $1.8bn – a total that had climbed from $1.2bn in 2019, while more than 6% of all respondents said they had paid a ransom to hackers. These ransoms formed a combined loss of $381m.
The average business surveyed in the report claimed they now devote more than a fifth (21%) of their IT budget to cybersecurity, an increase of 63% year-on-year.
Hiscox Cyber CEO Gareth Wharton said, “While the number of firms reporting a breach is down, the cost and intensity of criminal activity in this area appear markedly higher. The numbers that have paid a ransom following a malware infection are chilling. Nobody should doubt the scale of the problem.
“The companies that are part of our report were questioned prior to the coronavirus pandemic, so the findings reflect their perspectives in more certain times. No doubt the increase in experts seen this year is an important step to protecting companies in the ever-changing cyber threat landscape.
“While a high level of preparedness can be no guarantee of security, there are incredible steps firms can take to minimise their vulnerability, respond effectively and recover in good order. It is about defence in-depth and building resilience.”
The head of GCHQ Jeremy Fleming recently claimed the UK and its allies face a ‘moment of reckoning’ where the global direction of cybersecurity may not be ‘shaped and controlled by the west’ due to the rise of Russia and China.
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