Cyber security 'vital for long-term business growth'

Tuesday 17 December 2013

Businesses operating across a variety of industries in the UK have been warned that adopting tight cyber security strategies is a key factor in contributing to long-term corporate growth. 

Accountancy firm KPMG has claimed raising the standard for online safety is vital for companies to advance in the digital age - something people who are setting up a business need to consider closely.

Its comments were made after the government announced that organisations will need to meet a rigorous new cyber security kitemark if they wish to do business with officials. Head of cyber security at KPMG Malcolm Marshall said the move will be welcomed by businesses, on the condition that the standard is pragmatic. 

"The government isn’t afraid to be at the forefront of mandating cyber security standards in procurement.  

It’s fair to say that organisational cyber security standards are keenly awaited by the security community and by business at large, but to work effectively they must be pragmatic and recognise the challenges of smaller firms trying to raise their cyber security game," Mr Marshall explained. 

The KPMG official went on to note that the new regulations will help to bolster the UK's cyber defences. However, Mr Marshall also claimed that British firms should avoid the adoption of strategies that will alienate them from international counterparts. 

"It is also worth reminding ourselves that commerce in cyber space is global, and that any UK standard must build on recognised international approaches, with a weather eye on US initiatives," he explained. 

Responding to the latest government scheme, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) also noted the important role that internet security plays in sustained growth for UK businesses. 

Matthew Fell, director for competitive markets at CBI, said: "Business needs to work collaboratively with government on cyber security and the partnership is working well, for example by providing a safe space for information sharing.

"These new measures to boost awareness and capability are welcome and will further strengthen the UK's reputation as a good place to do business in the digital age."

Data security is an issue affecting companies in a variety of industries around the world, as the increasingly important role of the internet continues to change the ways in which companies operate. 

Research entitled Boardroom Cyber Watch 2013, which was published in July, revealed around 53 per cent of company bosses believe the main threat to corporate data and computer system loss come from a company's own employees - rather than external attackers, such as hackers and criminals. 

Some 27 per cent believed illegal activity was the biggest risk to data protection, while 12 per cent of respondents believe that state-sponsored cyber attackers are the main threat. 

However, analysts noted that companies remain alarmingly casual when it comes to protecting their information, despite the majority of respondents claiming they were familiar with the risks. Around 25 per cent of surveyed managers said they had faced a "concerted attack" in the past 12 months, while more than 20 per cent were unsure if they had been subject to such a threat. 

By Victoria McDonnell

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