Security matters and the issue of cybersecurity is one that businesses are being forced to confront on a frequent basis. Research and analysis show that cybercrime is on the rise. Any breach can lead to serious consequences for companies, government agencies, and their employees.

There have been several high-profile breaches in recent years, raising concerns over the capabilities of dealing with more sophisticated hackers.

So, what do the statistics tell us, and what tools can businesses use to protect their privacy?

How Common Are Cyber Attacks?

In the UK, cyber scams increased 31 per cent during the height of the coronavirus pandemic. At the same time on a global scale, the United States suffered 156 ‘significant’ attacks between 2006 and 2020 — more than three times as many as any other nation. Overall, the number of attempted hacks and scams is rising as cybercriminals develop new ways of carrying out their illegal activities.

What Are Some High-Profile Examples of Recent Breaches?

In May 2021, Colonial Pipeline suffered a ransomware attack that targeted the equipment it uses to manage its pipeline, which carries gasoline and fuel to the southeast of the US. The breach had a major impact on the country’s economy and was even addressed by President Joe Biden. Other big-name companies that have suffered cyber attacks over the past 12 months include Marriott, Nintendo, EasyJet, and Microsoft.

Are Businesses Equipped When It Comes to Cybersecurity?

Surveys and studies suggest that the answer is ‘no’. Almost 80 per cent of senior IT leaders believe their businesses still do not have enough protection from cyber attacks. Meanwhile, in the UK, 86 per cent of SMEs do not have cyber insurance to help them deal with the consequences of a breach.

According to the Global Cybersecurity Index, the US and the UK rank first and second in their commitment to tackling the issue. However, those nations are also first when it comes to suffering significant cyberattacks, which shows the extent of their challenges when it comes to data security.

What Tools Are Available to Help Businesses Improve Their Security?

  • Training: Companies can put their employees through mandatory courses that offer guidance and education on spotting potential threats and how to deal with them.
  • Virtual Private Network (VPN): Businesses can invest in VPN ( services. That means their staff can connect to a private network and know all the data they send and receive is fully encrypted.
  • Data Flow Mapping: Tracks how information moves through an organisation and analyses how much of it is personal or sensitive, how many systems it is transmitted to and where it is stored.
  • Data Protection Officer (DPO): Either appointed in-house or outsourced to a third-party provider, a DPO will assess all aspects of the business and ensure they are GDPR compliant.