“More than one-in-four British businesses suffer from security breaches” finds Vanderbilt research

A comprehensive study conducted across four European countries by YouGov on behalf of Vanderbilt reveals that more than one in four (28%) of British SMEs have suffered loss, disruption or inconvenience as a direct result of physical or cyber security breaches.

While cyber security arguably grabs the lion’s share of media and business attention, British businesses report nearly three times as many physical breaches in security at their workplace (23%) than virtual (or cyber) attacks (8%).  This is particularly true of smaller-scale organisations, where 20% have suffered a physical breach yet only 6% have experienced cyber security attacks. Medium-sized businesses report higher number of physical breaches in security (32%) than cyber attacks (13%).

The survey forms part of Vanderbilt’s 2015 European Security Barometer, which tests the climate of the electronic security market in Europe. The research provides valuable insight into consumer and business attitudes towards security.

As part of the survey, senior decision-makers at SMEs with up to 249 employees in Britain, France, Germany and Spain were asked about the loss, disruption of inconvenience caused to their businesses by breaches in security.

Joe Grillo of Vanderbilt

Joe Grillo of Vanderbilt

“The fact that many of the British businesses we surveyed do not have electronic security products like access control, CCTV or remote monitoring in place is a cause for serious concern,” noted Joe Grillo, managing director of Vanderbilt International. “This is particularly true given the number of security breaches that businesses report and the loss, inconvenience and disruption that these episodes cause.”

The survey finds that, where businesses do install electronic security equipment, this is to meet practical concerns.  Equipment is installed to prevent theft, vandalism and unauthorised access, yet considerations such as Duty of Care to employees, regulatory compliance, lowering insurance premiums and maintaining business continuity do not seem to factor anywhere near as highly.

British businesses confirm that, when it comes to specifying and purchasing electronic security products, brand loyalty is a minor concern. The survey reveals that end users value quality, price and features above customer service, integration and the brand.

Greater perceived risk of terrorism, crime and violence

Consumers were also questioned as part of the survey. A key discovery is the fact that 59% of British adults believe Britain is now more at risk from terrorist threats, crime and violence than a year ago.

The survey also reveals overwhelming support for the use of CCTV in combating crime, with nearly nine out of ten (89%) British adults supporting its role in preventing crime and providing evidence to the police service. In addition, 68% of British adults do not believe CCTV represents an infringement of civil liberties or that it invades their privacy.

The belief that Britain is more at risk than a year ago may be influenced by memories of recent terrorist events across Europe, and the fact that even if most are thwarted, terrorist attacks are now sadly a regular feature in the news.

“The concern voiced in the survey is interesting when placed in the context of a downward trend in the number of recorded crimes”, noted Joe Grillo.

The most recent Crime Survey for England and Wales reveals 11% fewer crimes in 2014, while European Union (EU) figures show that violent crime declined across the EU by 6% between 2007 and 2010 with much of it explained by fewer crimes in England and Wales.

Despite their fears, few British households have installed electronic security products in their homes to better protect their families and property. Indeed, only a minority of households have an intruder or burglar alarm (28%), an access control system with keypad or swipe card (5%) or CCTV (7%). That said, British households have more intruder or burglar alarms installed than their counterparts in France, Germany, Spain or Sweden.

The survey reveals considerable interest among householders for advanced security technologies. A third of respondents were interested in an integrated security system combining CCTV, intruder alarms and access control while 35% focused on security products that can be linked with – and made to work alongside – other appliances in the ‘connected home’ of the future.

Crucially, this interest is not restricted to those that own their own homes. 36% of those that rent their home from a private landlord are interested in an integrated security system compared to only 28% of those respondents to the survey who own their home outright.

Methodology and research areas

The 2015 Vanderbilt Security Barometer draws on research conducted by YouGov for Vanderbilt in April 2015. Fieldwork was undertaken between 7-15 April with the survey conducted online.

The figures have been weighted and are representative of business size or all adults in each respective country (aged 18+). All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov plc. The sample size of 7,539 was comprised as follows:

*Great Britain: 662 senior decision-makers in SMEs (businesses of up to 249 employees) and 2,020 UK adults

*France: 261 senior decision-makers in SMEs (businesses of up to 249 employees) and 1,025 adults

*Germany: 250 senior decision-makers in SMEs (businesses of up to 249 employees) and 1,017 adults

*Spain: 276 senior decision-makers in SMEs (businesses of up to 249 employees) and 1,008 adults

*Sweden: 1,020 adults (no suitable business sample was available to survey)

Consumers were asked a series of questions about the risk that society faces, the role and acceptability of CCTV, the type of electronic security products they have in their own homes and the products they would like to see in their homes in the future.

Businesses were asked about the number and type of security breaches at their premises and also questioned about the types of threat for which they require protection. Respondents were surveyed on the type of electronic security products installed in their workplace and asked about how buying decisions are made.

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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