The Government has hailed the new tougher data protection regime, ushered in with GDPR and the UK Data Protection Act 2018, for a reduction in the number of businesses suffering a cyber breach or attack in the past year.
The 2019 Cyber Security Breaches Survey, carried out for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS), shows that 32% of businesses identified a cyber security attack in the last 12 months - down from 43% the previous year.
The survey also shows that 30% of businesses and 36% of charities have made changes to their cyber security policies and processes as a result of GDPR coming into force in May 2018.
However, there is no time for businesses to rest on laurels, as the survey reveals that those businesses which did suffer attacks, the typical median number of breaches has risen from four in 2018 to six in 2019. Therefore, businesses and charities suffering cyber attacks and breaches appear to be experiencing more attacks than in previous years, the report notes.
Where a breach has resulted in a loss of data or assets, the average cost of a cyber attack on a business has gone up by more than £1,000 since 2018 to £4,180. Business leaders are now being urged to do more to protect themselves against cybercrime.
The most common breaches or attacks were phishing emails, followed by instances of others impersonating their organisation online, viruses or other malware including ransomware.
Digital minister Margot James said: "Following the introduction of new data protection laws in the UK, it’s encouraging to see that business and charity leaders are taking cyber security more seriously than ever before. However, with less than three in ten of those companies having trained staff to deal with cyber threats, there’s still a long way to go to make sure that organisations are better protected.
"We know that tackling cyber threats is not always at the top of business and charities list of things to do, but with the rising costs of attacks, it’s not something organisations can choose to ignore any longer."