The European Technology Index 2016, launched at the firm’s European Technology Summit, shows that 25 per cent of companies have no specific cyber-attack response in place, despite almost half (44 per cent) regarding it as a significant risk to their business.
The European Technology Index, now in its third year, reviewed the perceptions and attitudes towards technology of 357 experts in Europe, including executives from key European technology firms, members of the investment community with a technology focus and, Government officials focused on technology policy making.
The data showed that Western European companies are particularly at risk, with one in three (31 per cent) companies having no preventative or protective measures in place against cyber-attacks. The Benelux region is next most exposed, with just 25 per cent of companies with no cyber-response plans.
The global cost of cyber-attacks to companies is estimated at $400 billion every year, with 75 attacks reported to the Financial Conduct Authority so far this year, compared to just five reported in 2014. In view of which, understandably, 62 per cent of respondents acknowledge it as the area with most potential for investment, alongside the Internet of Things and ahead of Artificial Intelligence and FinTech.
Nearly three quarters (73 per cent) of companies surveyed felt ‘fairly secure’ about cyber-risk, implementing such measures as the use to cyber security software, regular software updates and strong computer and system passwords. These measures however may not be enough, as nearly seven in ten cyber-attacks have involved viruses, spyware or malware that are able to bypass protective software.
While the UK has set an example to other European countries on increasing cyber protection, with GCHQ announcing plans to build the “Great British Firewall,” there are significant limitations that remain in addressing the dangers of the digital age.
Kit Burden, Global Co-Head of the Technology sector at DLA Piper, commented: "These statistics make for sober reading, cyber-crime is highly lucrative for the criminal fraternity, with a lower risk of capture or punishment than other crimes. It is imperative that organisations, regardless of size, give it the attention it deserves and put in place all necessary protocols, which they need to monitor and evolve as risks develop.
“This is perhaps all the more prevalent as industry continues to navigate the potential impact of Brexit should negotiations touch upon important areas to cyber security such as: the General Data Protection Regulation; information sharing by intelligence agencies across the region; movement of talent across Europe and research funding that supports the development; and deployment of cyber security-related technologies across the continent."