39% of UK businesses reported having cyber-security breaches or attacks in the past 12 months

35% of UK businesses now deploy security monitoring tools compared with 40% last year

27% of UK businesses that have experienced cyber breaches or attacks say they happen at least once a week

Source: Department for Digital, Culture Media and Sport Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2021

“Regardless of industry type, the reliance of free-flowing supply chains means that an attack on a lower level but critical part of the supply chain may have as big an effect as trying to hit the target company head on. No one is safe,” he said.

Taking a zero-trust strategy to reduce risks

The response by businesses during the pandemic has been to protect assets located outside their ‘castles’. “There has been a surge in deployment of additional endpoint security technology, multi- factor authentication, and remote connectivity solutions,” said James Cripps, chief operating officer of Enhanced.

Businesses must consider new tools and processes, said Tim Walker, managing director at Aura Technology: “The shift to remote working has seen a major increase in Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks, with a 272% rise in Europe during the first quarter of 2020, according to reports. Despite many

of these attacks being on a small scale, they still can massively disrupt business operations.”

As well as introducing better technology, companies are also changing their cultures. “Businesses have refreshed or created new policy and governance structures relating to device use that reduce the risks of working from home,” pointed out Murphy.

Another way to deal with security weak points is by adopting more robust checks, noted Cheetham. “Organisations are moving to a stringent ‘zero trust’ strategy, which protects users, data, and business assets wherever they are. It is also essential that businesses monitor their supply chain – it must be watertight.”

Leveraging the protective capabilities of virtual private networks (VPN) has proved a popular means of safeguarding against cyber threats. “Many organisations have responded well to the difficulties of 2020, especially in the adoption of VPNs to access corporate networks,” thought Remzi.

However, Roland Emmans, technology sector head for HSBC UK commercial banking, warned: “Employees using a VPN carries more risk than when they are in the office using a closed network. One possible solution to this in the long-term is for businesses to consider investing in dedicated network extensions into their employees’ home, which would further protect the company’s data.”


Graham Thomson

Steven Smith

Barry Remzi

Tim Walker Dennis Murphy

Gary Cheetham MAY/JUNE 2021 17

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