In the UK alone, the estimated cost of cyber-crime is estimated to be in the region of £27bn per year, and with the level of malicious attacks constantly on the rise and the perpetrators becoming increasingly inventive, organisations cannot afford to be complacent.

According to a 2015 internet report by Symantec, five out of every six large companies have been attacked.  But it’s not just the large companies such as eBay, Amazon and Sony that are at risk.  The infrastructure, administrative, customer and financial data of companies of every size are also vulnerable to phishing/whaling attacks, distributed denial of service, viruses and malware - and the list goes on. To get an idea of the scale of the problem: each day security software company, McAfee will log over 450,000 new viruses.

Attacks can be orchestrated by lone wolves, organised crime and state sponsored agencies for economic gain, IP theft, industrial espionage or to sell hacked data on the black market. Cyber-attacks also come from individuals or disgruntled employees out simply to cause the maximum disruption and inconvenience.

Worryingly, many businesses will not know that they have been hacked until considerable damage has been done -  discovery can take a minute, a month or even years.

So try as they might to batten down the hatches against such attacks, it is widely held that it is almost inevitable that at some level, a company will experience a security breech. And although deploying defensive processes such as firewalls and password encryption, will reduce the success rate of cyber-attacks, businesses should also interrogate their systems to assess whether they are properly equipped to identify and respond to such attacks with the utmost speed at the point at which they occur.  

The key question which all businesses must therefore address is whether they will be dealt a fatal blow by a breech in their security or whether they are resilient enough to bounce back.

Shepherd and Wedderburn is hosting a free-to-attend breakfast seminar to help businesses prepare and respond to cyber-attacks. The event will take place on Wednesday 10th February at the firm’s offices  between 8.30am and 11am at 10 St Paul’s Churchyard. You can register here.

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