26% of British businesses 'have no protection against cyber attacks'

Although businesses understand the importance of digital innovation, they aren't prepared for the challenges

Almost a third of UK businesses are not sufficiently prepared against a cyber attack, research by software and services provider Advanced has revealed.

Additionally, 46% of companies don't view data security as a priority when deciding which systems and software to adopt when furthering their digital presence.

"Digital innovation presents a huge opportunity for companies and our economy, but it also goes hand in hand with a need for greater emphasis on cyber security," Tom Thackray, CBI Director for Innovation, said.

"Cyber resilience is a growing priority for all businesses, and the challenge now is to move from awareness to action. It's important that businesses in all sectors from manufacturing to retail truly understand digital technology's potential, from the boardroom to the shop or factory floor."

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Advanced questioned more than 1000 professionals across UK businesses in a range of sectors about how ready they were if a cyber attack struck and how their attitude has changed since it was decided the UK would exit the EU.

More than half of respondents said they think Brexit has presented an opportunity for growth and 61% said they were prepared for it. However, the same number said they expect to cut their budgets as a result and this would probably mean investing less in digital technologies.

"This research was designed to uncover the biggest concerns that UK businesses are facing today. It's clear from these findings that businesses are grappling with the level of change," Gordon Wilson, CEO, Advanced added.

"However, is it right that Brexit should be distracting business when the outcome is still to be determined. In the meantime, the disruption from digital is becoming increasingly complex and pervasive. Given the numerous examples of high-profile businesses being crippled by cyber-attacks, it raises the question as to why this isn't at the top of the priority list for every business leader."

Other themes highlighted in the report included the increasing pressure for companies to use social more to build their customer relationship and the struggle many businesses are having when it comes to having an active social presence. In fact, only 45% have used social media to communicate with customers.

However, almost all (93%) agree that a connected digital infrastructure is essential to address customer needs, but their infrastructure isn't ready to deal with these growing demands.

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"By making the right investments for their digital future and ensuring cyber security is a board level priority, [businesses] have the opportunity to make the UK a global beacon for digital and technological skills," Thackray added.

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