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Comment: Cyber crime doesn’t discriminate

Research shows that too few firms take cyber security seriously

Threats relating to cyber crime have snowballed in recent years. But is enough really being done to combat them? It is debatable.

Recent government research has highlighted just how much more Britain’s top firms and charities urgently need to do to protect themselves from online threats.

The report found that more than two-thirds (68 per cent) of company boards had not received training to deal with a cyber incident, despite more than half (54 per cent) saying cyber threats were a top risk to their business.

Furthermore, one in 10 FTSE 350 companies said they operated without a response plan for a cyber incident, with less than a third of boards (31 per cent) receiving comprehensive cyber risk information.

These are alarming findings. Within financial services the combating of fraud has always been an issue taken seriously at the highest rank. However, threats relating to cyber crime have taken these concerns to a whole new level.

Firms should seek specialist support where necessary to safeguard business needs and processes

Although recent data from UK Finance is encouraging — highlighting that, in the first half of this year, losses due to financial fraud were down by 8 per cent year-on-year — it remains an ongoing battle to keep one step ahead of the criminals.

Fraud and cyber security are issues not just for larger companies. Intermediary firms, and SMEs in general, also need to be on their guard. Many believe they are too small to be targeted but this is far from the case.

The scale of the cyber security and data protection challenges facing a variety of UK businesses is growing and this is an area we cannot afford to ignore. Education is vital in combating this threat and firms should seek specialist support where necessary to safeguard business needs and processes.

Taking decisive action now will help protect not only the future of your business but also that of your clients.

Neil Scriven is head of mortgage fraud at Barclays

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