53% of businesses increase cyber security spending in preparation for Brexit

Research conducted by data security company Clearswift has shown that, since the announcement of Brexit, over half (53%) of UK businesses have increased their cyber security spending. In preparation for Britain leaving the EU, professional services and manufacturing organisations were revealed as making the biggest change to security spending, with 60% and 53% of organisations in these industries respectively increasing their investment in cyber security.

The research*, which surveyed senior IT decision-makers in UK organisations of more than 1,000 employees, also found that organisations are anticipating Brexit will increase threats to data protection. The data revealed that the Top Three threats to organisations post-Brexit will be malware attacks (49%), phishing attacks (40%) and ransomware attacks (40%).

The threats identified by senior IT decision-makers are reflected in the kinds of investments that are being budgeted for by organisations. With many of the threats focused on malicious players gaining access to sensitive information via targeted attacks, respondents identified data loss prevention technologies (49%), regulatory compliance solutions (49%) and endpoint security (44%) as the foremost investment areas post-Brexit.

Brexit has brought about a time of uncertainty for the UK, especially so around the security of the nation’s critical data and cyber criminals will take advantage of the confusion. While the kinds of attacks identified in the survey are not new, the ways in which they’re being delivered are becoming more advanced.

Dr Guy Bunker, CTO at Clearswift, commented: “It’s critical for organisations to keep up with how cyber threats are evolving. For example, images are now a high risk to organisations. Sensitive data can be hidden inside of everyday image files and then readily exfiltrated through e-mail. Malicious payloads for botnets and remote access trojans can also be hidden and easily downloaded from websites and other digital collaboration channels without being noticed.”

The research shows that businesses need to expect an increase in phishing and business e-mail compromise attacks.  “In the lead-up to leaving the EU, as well as once we’ve left, businesses need to review their security posture and address weaknesses,” asserted Dr Bunker. “A key focus for organisations to mitigate cyber risks is to start inside the organisation. Security training and threat awareness programmes for staff, adapting policies and processes to securely handle critical information and implementing suitable technology that acts as a safety net for accidents or malicious behaviour represent the way forward.”

Adaptive data loss prevention solutions are being recognised as key to protect organisations from a multitude of threats. Advanced solutions here can automatically redact sensitive data as well as malicious content as it passes through a corporate network without hindering communication flow. Real-time, bi-directional deep content inspection and redaction occurs automatically at the boundary, preventing data breach risks on the way out and thwarting cyber attacks on the way in.

*The research was conducted by technology research firm Vanson Bourne on behalf of Clearswift. 100 senior IT decision-makers in organisations of more than 1,000 employees across the UK were polled

About the Author
Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI, Editor, Risk UK (Pro-Activ Publications) Beginning his career in professional journalism at The Builder Group in March 1992, Brian was appointed Editor of Security Management Today in November 2000 having spent eight years in engineering journalism across two titles: Building Services Journal and Light & Lighting. In 2005, Brian received the BSIA Chairman’s Award for Promoting The Security Industry and, a year later, the Skills for Security Special Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Security Business Sector. In 2008, Brian was The Security Institute’s nomination for the Association of Security Consultants’ highly prestigious Imbert Prize and, in 2013, was a nominated finalist for the Institute's George van Schalkwyk Award. An Honorary Fellow of The Security Institute, Brian serves as a Judge for the BSIA’s Security Personnel of the Year Awards and the Securitas Good Customer Award. Between 2008 and 2014, Brian pioneered the use of digital media across the security sector, including webinars and Audio Shows. Brian’s actively involved in 50-plus security groups on LinkedIn and hosts the popular Risk UK Twitter site. Brian is a frequent speaker on the conference circuit. He has organised and chaired conference programmes for both IFSEC International and ASIS International and has been published in the national media. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk UK at Pro-Activ Publications in July 2014 and as Editor of The Paper (Pro-Activ Publications' dedicated business newspaper for security professionals) in September 2015. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk Xtra at Pro-Activ Publications in May 2018.

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