The majority of businesses still woefully underestimate the scale of the cyber security threat, despite high profile IT attacks becoming increasingly commonplace.
Research by business ISP Beaming shows that cyber-attacks cost UK business almost £30 billion in 2016. Chancellor Philip Hammond says that 65% of large businesses suffered a serious attack last year, but despite this, just 9 out of 10 organisations have an incident management plan in place.
There is also a massive disparity between sectors. Just 15% of food and hospitality companies say that cyber security is a ‘high priority’ according to gov.uk figures, while entertainment and transport organisations are hardly any better, polling results of 21% and 23% respectively. Even those heading the savviest sector – finance/insurance – showed relatively poor awareness, with just 60% of respondents considering IT security to be a high priority.
The fact that businesses refuse to accept the seriousness of the IT security threat is baffling. The profile and stakes of IT security have never been higher, so it’s difficult to see why the problem is not being tackled head on.
One problem may be a lack of accountability. In the absence of a dedicated IT security lead, is each IT department assuming someone else is taking control? Service desks can help. Working at the sharp end of IT, acting as a conduit between the business and IT, service desks are perfectly placed to witness the problems that user errors can cause.
Service desks, therefore, have an important role educating users to be prudent and sensible while using IT to ensure that cyber attacks aren’t able to exploit obvious security entry points. The education they can offer – on simple things such as being prudent when clicking email attachments – should not be underestimated. Yes, it won’t help against high-level network attacks, but it can deliver grass roots improvements to the overall IT integrity.