According to a recent survey, more than half (52 percent) of UK-based businesses fell victims to some form of cybercrime in 2016.
The survey – published by internet service provider Beaming and conducted by researchers at Opinium – revealed that a staggering 2.9 million British firms experienced a cybersecurity breach last year.
The incidents cost UK businesses a total of £29.1 billion, the report found.
Meanwhile, phishing attacks and computer viruses were the most common cyber-threats faced by organizations in 2016, impacting 23 percent of those surveyed in both cases.
Furthermore, nearly one in five businesses (18 percent) reported experiencing some form of hack or data breach last year.
Not surprisingly, the risk of cybersecurity breaches appeared to increase significantly with business size. Seventy-one percent of organizations with over 250 employees were victim to cyber-crime, while less than a third (31 percent) of companies with fewer than 10 people said the same.
“Large organizations are more likely to become a victim of cyber-crime due to being more valuable targets and because employees are often the weakest link in the cyber-security chain,” explained Sonia Blizzard, managing director of Beaming.
“Successful cyber-attacks on smaller businesses are less frequent, but cause disproportionately more harm,” Blizzard added.
However, the report also found that the adoption of new cybersecurity technologies, such as unified threat management devices, web application firewalls and network access control systems, increased the fastest amongst smaller businesses in 2016.
“It is encouraging [small businesses] are taking the threat more seriously and investing in their cyber defenses, as a single attack could potentially break them,” said Blizzard.
A third (30 percent) or organizations surveyed said they discuss cybersecurity matters in senior leadership meetings – up from just 18 percent a year ago.
In addition, more than half a million UK businesses purchased cyber insurance policies for the first time in the last 12 months, with 19 percent adding coverage for losses associated with cyber security breaches and data theft.