12
February
2014
|
00:00
Europe/Amsterdam

UK companies lag behind the US in cyber security readiness, survey reveals

Many board level executives around the world still failing to address cyber security 

Hacktivism and malicious insider threats (intentional leaks) perceived to be on the rise 

Just 17 per cent of UK business leaders see cyber security as a major priority, compared to 41 per cent in the US, research from BT has revealed. 

The research, which assessed attitudes to cyber security and levels of preparedness among IT decision makers, highlights that UK businesses are lagging behind their US counterparts in crucial areas. Just one in five (21 per cent) respondents in the UK are able to measure the return on investment (ROI) of their cyber security measures compared to nine in ten (90 per cent) US companies. Similarly, 86 per cent of US directors and senior decision makers are given IT security training, compared to just 37 per cent in the UK. 

Respondents that believe their CEO’s attitude towards cyber security is “protection against cyber-attack is an absolute priority” by country (BASE: all respondents) 

More than half (58 per cent) of IT decision-makers globally stated that their boards underestimate the importance of cyber security. This figure increases to 74 per cent in the US but drops to 55 per cent in the UK. 

The difference in levels of preparedness correlates with attitudes to threats. Non-malicious insider threats (e.g. accidental loss of data) are currently the most commonly cited security concern globally, being reported as a serious threat by 65 per cent of IT decision makers. In the UK this falls to 60 per cent and is followed by malicious insider threats (51 per cent), hacktivism (37 per cent) organised crime (32 per cent), nation states (15 per cent) and terrorism (12 per cent). 

In the US the proportion of IT decision makers who see non-malicious insider threats as a severe threat increases to 85 per cent and is followed by malicious insider threats (79 per cent), hacktivism (77 per cent), organised crime (75 per cent), terrorism (72 per cent) and nation states (70 per cent). 

Looking ahead, more than half of global IT decision makers believe that hacktivism (54 per cent) and malicious insider threats (53 per cent) will pose a greater risk over the next 12 months. In the US this increases to 73 per cent and 74 per cent respectively. This compares to 29 per cent and 23 per cent in the UK. Globally, terrorism is seen as the threat least likely to pose more risk over the next 12 months. 


Cyber security threats posing risk now and posing more risk over the coming year (BASE: all respondents) 

Mark Hughes, CEO of BT Security, said: “The research provides a fascinating insight into the changing threat landscape and the challenge this poses for organisations globally. The massive expansion of employee-owned devices, cloud computing and extranets, have multiplied the risk of abuse and attack, leaving organisations exposed to a myriad of internal and external threats – malicious and accidental. 

“US businesses should be celebrated for putting cyber security on the front foot. The risks to business are moving too fast for a purely reactive security approach to be successful. Nor should cyber security be seen as an issue for the IT department alone.” 

In response to emerging threats, three quarters (75 per cent) of IT decision makers globally say they would like to overhaul their infrastructure and design them with security features from the ground up. 74 per cent would like to train all staff in cyber security best practice. Similarly, just over half (54 per cent) say they would like to engage an external vendor to monitor the system and prevent attacks. 

Hughes added: “As the threat landscape continues to evolve, CEOs and board level executives need to invest in cyber security and educate their people in the IT department and beyond. The stakes are too high for cyber security to be pushed to the bottom of the pile. 

“At BT we help our customers identify and understand the risks and vulnerabilities as well as their critical assets. We provide them with best of breed portfolio, intelligence services plus dedicated subject matter experts to help them put the right security measures in place to mitigate cyber threats.” 

ENDS 

About the research 
This research was undertaken by Vanson Bourne for BT in October 2013. Five hundred interviews were carried out with IT decision makers in medium to large sized enterprise organisations across seven countries – UK, France, Germany, USA, Brazil, Hong Kong and Singapore – and in a range of sectors – finance, pharmaceutical, retail and government. 

Additional stats 

Type of threat

Global

UK

US

In your view, how severe are the following threats to your organisation? Percentage of respondents that selected “severe risk” or “very severe risk”

How will the severity of the following threats change over the next 12 months? Percentage of respondents that selected “more risk” or “significantly more risk”

In your view, how severe are the following threats to your organisation? Percentage of respondents that selected “severe risk” or “very severe risk”

How will the severity of the following threats change over the next 12 months? Percentage of respondents that selected “more risk” or “significantly more risk”

In your view, how severe are the following threats to your organisation? Percentage of respondents that selected “severe risk” or “very severe risk”

How will the severity of the following threats change over the next 12 months? Percentage of respondents that selected “more risk” or “significantly more risk”

Non-malicious insider threat (e.g. accidental loss of data)

65%

51%

60%

25%

85%

73%

Hacktivism

63%

54%

37%

29%

77%

73%

Malicious insider threat (e.g. intentional leaks)

63%

53%

51%

23%

79%

74%

Organised crime

53%

47%

32%

24%

75%

67%

Nation state

45%

39%

15%

13%

70%

66%

Terrorism

39%

38%

12%

9%

72%

74%


BT Security 
BT Security is building on 70 years’ experience of helping organisations around the globe and across all sectors get ahead of the threat curve and reduce the uncertainty and complexity of security. We provide an end-to-end capability to help organisations enjoy higher levels of security at a time when security budgets are not keeping pace with the threat landscape. 

The sophistication of our security operations means that we think about the assets, the people, and the processes, and combine these with both network and security intelligence to help our customers stay ahead of the security risks. BT Security protects both BT and its customers. These customers are advised by a global team of 1,300 security practitioners, 600 global security specialists and a professional services team of approximately 4,000. 

The BT Security Assure portfolio covers: 

• Assure Managed Firewall 
• Assure Web Security 
• Assure Intrusion Prevention 
• Assure Message Scan 
• Assure Denial of Service Mitigation 
• Assure Cyber 
• Assure Managed Cloud 
• Assure Threat Monitoring 
• Assure Vulnerability Scanning 


To find out more about BT Security, visit www.bt.com/btassure/securitythatmatters