The issue of cyber security is one that never goes away, even though many firms could be tempted to get complacent about it. Often it is imagined that because a security system was installed last year or the year before, that will be fine for now. In reality, threats continue to evolve and arise from different directions.
For this reason, ongoing concerns are being discussed in many quarters. For example, Public Technology’s website has chosen the second week in October to be Cyber Security Week. While its’ particular focus is security in the public sector and the threats posed to it, many of these issues are just as relevant to commercial firms.
For that reason, it is vital that any firm understands that ongoing cyber security updates are part of the business IT support it needs.
As Home Office minister Andrew Sharpe observed: “Cybercrime is a global threat”. He added that there is one particular reason the international dimension of the issue is so important: “Criminals and the technical infrastructure they use are often based in uncooperative jurisdictions, making international collaboration essential.”
While that understanding may inform the approaches taken by governments to try to curb cyber security threats from rogue state actors, the fact is that the threat remains potent and while there may be some whose chief aim is to impede the operations of government, such as by DOS attacks on websites, others will attack commercial enterprises, such as banks.
Smaller firms might think themselves less likely to be the target and while that may be the case if someone is aiming for a large-scale attack to cause maximum damage, the potential for complacency at smaller and lower-profile organisations does make them more vulnerable.
Indeed, it is worth considering that ‘uncooperative jurisdictions’ may house many operators who are given carte blanche to act against any enterprise in the UK. Those aims may often be more about fraud and theft than throwing a spanner in the works of the machinery of government.
The extent to which the issue of cyber security is a matter for businesses just as much as the public sector was borne out last year, when the Office for National Statistics produced figures showing that in the 12 months to mid-2022, 39 per cent of businesses had suffered a cyber attack of some form.
Compared with previous years, this was unchanged from 2021 and down from the 46 per cent attacked in 2020, but up from the 32 per cent seen in 2019. However, the 2019 figure was unusually low, after 2017 and 2018 saw 46 and 43 per cent of firms respectively suffering attacks.
These figures may rise and fall for many reasons. Covid produced more vulnerability as firms hurriedly switched to working from home without always having the chance to put extra security in place for the devices staff would be using in remote work. War in Ukraine has led to increased concerns about Russian operatives.
In an uncertain world, there may be many more events and trends that lead to new challenges, while emerging technology may also pose new challenges. That is why you can never rest on your laurels when seeking IT support to stay secure.