May 2, 2018 By David Bisson 2 min read

Nearly half of businesses in the U.K. reported cybersecurity breaches in the last 12 months, a government-sponsored survey found.

According to the “Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2018,” 43 percent of U.K. businesses said they suffered a breach or attack in the last year. This was more than double the rate for charities (19 percent).

Costs Associated With Cybersecurity Breaches on the Rise

For the study, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) worked with Ipsos MORI and the University of Portsmouth to survey 1,519 U.K. businesses and 569 charities registered in the country. Their responses, along with 50 in-depth follow-up interviews, shed light on the types of digital threats organizations in the region face and what they’re doing to protect themselves.

The study found that the total cost of cybersecurity breaches consistently increased over the past three years. While organizations spent an average of $2,533 per incident in 2016, they paid nearly twice as much ($4,180) a year later. That figure more than doubled again between 2017 and 2018 to $11,138.

These expenses reflected the financial impact of lost data for 53 percent of breached businesses and 59 percent of infiltrated charities. In around one-quarter of cases, organizations lost money because employees couldn’t carry out their daily duties and/or had to spend extra time resolving the breach. Thirty-six percent of businesses and 38 percent of charities cited a need to fund new measures to prevent similar attacks.

Priorities Versus Engagement

On a promising note, the majority of U.K. organizations reported that they understand the importance of cybersecurity. Seventy-four percent of businesses and 53 percent of charities said security is a high priority for senior management.

That said, companies did not balance these priorities with engagement. Less than a third of businesses (30 percent) and charities (24 percent) said they have board members who are responsible for cybersecurity. At the same time, 20 percent of businesses and 38 percent of charities admitted that they never report cybersecurity issues to executives.

Raj Samani, chief scientist and fellow at security firm McAfee, said that organizations can improve their engagement with cybersecurity by leveraging government initiatives and communications. But since only 3 percent of organizations said they recall using those resources, he confessed that the U.K. government needs to raise businesses’ and charities’ awareness of those tools.

“With such a wealth of information and partnerships with leading security providers, it is imperative that more is done to promote and educate businesses on what resources they have and how it can help,” Samani said, according to Computer Weekly.

DCMS also advised companies to improve their organizational culture and invest in tools, including identity protection, to beef up their data breach defenses.

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