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Sarah UKFast | Account Manager

Cyber Security in the UK – Are We Lagging Behind?

4 November 2011 by Alice Cullen

Cyber crime costs the UK economy around £27billion each year. Each month UK businesses lose more than £766million from IP theft. Each day 600,000 Facebook accounts are hacked.

Internet security should be at the forefront of everyone’s priorities, especially for business owners.

As part of Global Cyber Security Awareness Month in October, UKFast joined forces with cyber security experts to create a melting pot of security knowledge and hopefully increase understanding and awareness for businesses across the UK.

It became increasingly evident throughout the month that the UK is lagging behind in the security stakes, with many businesses completely oblivious to the risks that they are facing.

One of the key areas of focus throughout our conversations with a range of security experts was the accreditations and monitoring of cyber security policies. UKFast has a series of accreditations including ISO 2001:2008 and PCI DSS level one, but these are not seen as the top line of our security strategy.

Stuart Coulson, security expert at UKFast explained at a recent round table event that the current accreditations are a brilliant way of assessing how secure a business is but businesses should go beyond achieving them to build a solid defence against cyber threats.

“The hackers don’t have any rules, they break them to get to what they want. This is why these accreditations should be a guideline minimum for your strategy,” he said.

“The standards should be set for everyone to adhere to. There should be a set of guidelines that people must abide by from day one of setting up their business to say that they are aware of the cyber risks.”

Daniel Prince, cyber security course director at the University of Lancaster, reiterated this point saying: “The issue with current standards is that they are an audit of your defences so we have our drawbridge and moat which is great, but what happens if these are breached?

“The standards really need to cover the response plans that are in place if someone did break through the defences.”

The UK has seen focus shift dramatically to tackling cyber security issues, with David Cameron only this week saying that cyber crime will be dealt with as harshly as any other national security threat, and that the UK’s cyber defences will be ramped up as part of a £650million plan.

Our top five tips for staying cyber secure, taken from our Cyber Security Awareness Month research are:

  1. Secure against internal threats as well as external, staff can just easily infect your systems using a USB drive as opening an infected email – Andrew Frowen, Intaforensics
  2. One solution will not fit all in cyber security – research your strategy properly to ensure that it suits the specific needs of you business – Edwin Keen, the University of Bolton
  3. Identify the mission critical areas of your business and focus on protecting these  – Daniel Prince, Lancaster University
  4. Educating employees is the key – ensuring that cyber security is embedded into training from induction to continued refreshers – Stuart Coulson
  5. Audit and update your defences regularly to ensure that they are always protecting the areas that you need them to against newly developing threats. – Alberto Redi