Olivier Le Moal - stock.adobe.co

Software firms under cyber attack

Research from iomart has indicated firms that sit in the supply chain are seen as a target by criminals

Software businesses are firmly in the sights of cyber criminals, and despite many spending tens of thousands on defences, there is a widespread acceptance more money needs to be spent to improve data protection.

Research from channel player iomart, which worked with Oxford Economics to produce the State of cyber security in the UK 2023 report, has exposed significant levels of attacks on software firms, with 30 suffered over the past year on average by those operating in that sector.

Those attacks are coming despite some serious spending, with just shy of half of those quizzed forking out more than £50,000 a year on cyber security. Money is going on services including vulnerability assessments and pen testing, but 44% felt the budget was inadequate to fully protect them.

Lucy Dimes, CEO of iomart, said the challenges being faced by UK software businesses were not unique, and that the report showed the state of the current threat landscape.

“As an industry which is often an early adopter of nascent programs and technologies, as well as one which fosters open and collaborative working, software companies could be more susceptible to cyber threats,” she said. “And while it is clear that the threat of cyber crime is rising, there’s a lack of confidence in organisations’ abilities to protect themselves against it.

“There are many factors at play that are influencing this, from rising energy costs and increased insurance premiums to skills shortages and staff burnout, which are causing huge challenges for businesses.”

Dimes added that there were answers the channel could put in front of customers keen to make their security budgets go further and alleviate the current tightening of spending. “While this may be the case, there are ways to relieve these pressures, with effective strategies being developed and new technologies such as AI [artificial intelligence] being embraced,” she said. “Working alongside trusted partners can also ensure companies have adequate cyber strategies tailored to their business needs and challenges.”

Data protection

There are areas where customers can be taken further down the data protection road, with the report revealing that of the 500 businesses surveyed, only 37% have security embedded into all their business processes and functions. Of concern will be the 14% who admitted they only addressed security on an ad hoc or as-needed basis.

The experiences of the past couple of years have also made life difficult for customers, with many having to sacrifice some security budget during the pandemic to keep essential services running.

Added to the budgetary pressures, there continued to be a skills problem, with many customers suffering from a lack of in-house talent that can help them with their security needs – something for the managed service channel to solve.

Dimes only stepped into the CEO role at iomart last month, with the former UK and Ireland CEO at Fujitsu and chief operating officer at Equiniti taking it on after Reece Donovan departed. The business has been on a transition to bolster its position as a leading MSP in the UK market.

Read more on Managed IT Services