Some 70% of UK businesses have been hit by at least one data breach in the past year, according to digital forensics company CY4OR.
Increased exposure to the risk of cyber attacks has led the UK government to recognise cyber crime as one of the biggest threats facing the country.
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In addition to the cost of downtime and recovery, UK businesses could be fined up to £500,000 for serious data breaches.
According to CY4OR, the problem of data breaches is worse in certain industries, with financial services, hospitality and retail accounting for 71% of all breaches.
"It's a cliché, but prevention is better than cure," said Joel Tobias, managing director of CY4OR.
All businesses should carry out an information security review to identify any potential weaknesses in their procedures and introduce ongoing training to help build awareness of data security issues, he said.
"It's also about educating businesses should a data breach occur, how this can be investigated with minimal interruption to business processes and mitigating reputational damage," said Tobias.