US business takes lead in cyber threat risk awareness

While US businesses increase their understanding of cyber crime threats, preparedness across the globe remains low, says the Lloyd’s Risk Index.

While businesses in the US are increasing their understanding of the growing threat of cyber crime, preparedness across the globe remains low, according to the latest Lloyd’s Risk Index.

A poll of 500 global business leaders by Lloyds of London revealed that, while malicious cyber attacks are ranked the 4th highest priority risk in North America, cyber crime is ranked only 14th out of 50 risks in Europe and 20th in the Asia-Pacific region.

The low ranking coincides with an estimate that only 10% of companies that could be affected by cyber crime have cover for the growing risk.

“It’s encouraging to see US businesses increasingly wake up to the threat of cyber crime, as it presents a major risk to businesses and governments,” said Richard Ward, chief executive of Lloyd’s of London.

As recent high-profile events have shown, criminals are exploiting weaknesses in new technology faster than security solutions are being developed. Ward said current legislation is usually either inadequate or internationally inconsistent. 

“We need states, businesses and insurers to work together more closely to tackle this growing threat at the heart of the world’s economy,” said Ward.

Given the roll call of recent victims, even large businesses need to ask if they really understand the nature of the risk to which they are exposed, the Lloyd's Risk Index report said.

For smaller businesses, the associated costs of a data breach could put their very sustainability at risk, it said.

“Cyber security threats have become ubiquitous. Technical solutions are needed that evolve more swiftly, together with improved reporting of breaches to help quantify the risk more accurately,” the report said.

In the interim, the report concludes that businesses should consider making the need to protect themselves and their customers a much greater priority.

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