To succeed in business in this increasingly interconnected world is to accept the growing importance of cyber security. The volume of cyber attacks in recent years has increased so rapidly that they’re no longer a distant threat but rather a scary reality that businesses have to tackle head on. But it’s not only the increasing sophistication of malware that is a growing danger to business security, it’s also the lack of IT budget and resource to manage it when the worst case scenario happens.

The potential threat from the Internet of Things

According to Intel, there will be 200 billion connected devices by 2020. Whether this exact prediction comes true or not is yet to be seen, but numbers aside, a staggering amount of devices are connecting to the internet every second. Whilst this is arguably a positive step for the world’s digital maturity, it also adds more and more potential points of weakness that a hacker could exploit. As the Internet of Things grows and evolves, so could the frequency and complexity of cyber attacks. The current cost of a security breach to a large firm sits at an average of £36,500, a number that will undoubtedly rise.

As such, ensuring that business networks are secure is going to become increasingly important. Intriguingly, 34% of IT decision makers view network security as their biggest challenge, yet only 10% of budget goes to this area. Without sufficient investment, it will only become more difficult to secure complex, multi-layered and interconnected systems from resourceful hackers. When IT strategies are being formulated and budgets put in place, system security needs to be a priority for businesses of all shapes and sizes to help stop attacks before they happen. With threats of this nature, prevention is always better than a cure.

Staff training needs more investment to ward off attack

It’s all well and good having an advanced firewall, keeping your anti-virus software updated and implementing a sophisticated intrusion detection system, but something as small as an employee with a weak password represents a security liability. No amount of technical implementation will be able to prevent a breach due to employee negligence, which can happen if staff members that work both within the IT department and outside of it aren’t trained effectively.

Directors and senior managers in 74% of UK businesses say that cyber security is a high priority. However, just one third (33%) of these companies have any sort of formal policies covering cyber security risks in place and only 20% of staff in these companies receive or have attended cyber security training sessions. Even more interesting is that only 11% have a cyber security incident management plan in place, reflected in the lack of training allocation within technology budgets.

What’s the solution?

The best way to fend off a cyber attack is to make training staff in cyber security part of corporate culture, which means more investment in IT budgets and smarter allocation. If these changes aren’t made, vulnerability will continue to grow and the risk of a cyber attack will be greater.

It’s unlikely we’ll ever see a world where cyber attacks don’t exist, but how businesses proactively reduce their risk to such events is completely within their budgetary hands.