New survey finds many businesses still unprepared for cyber attacks

Over 80 per cent of online businesses are not adequately prepared for cyber attacks and upwards of a third have admitted to not having any concrete plan in place for when an attack strikes.

Related: Edward Snowden leaks still haunt business cyber security

A survey carried out by the Economist Intelligence Unit and sponsored by Arbor Networks looked at whether business leaders felt ready if a cyber attack befalls the company.

Despite over three quarters [77 per cent] of the companies surveyed stating that they had suffered an incident over the past two years, 38 per cent stated that there is still no incident response plan in place

“As these findings show, when it comes to cyber-attacks, we live in a “when” not “if” world. In the wake of recent high profile targeted attacks in the retail sector, a company’s ability to quickly identify and classify and incident, and execute a response plan, is critical to not only protecting corporate assets and customer data, but the brand, reputation and bottom line of the company,” said Arbor Networks president Matthew Moynahan.

The survey also found that of the companies surveyed only 17 per cent are fully prepared for an online security incident and to become more prepared 41 per cent stated that a better understanding would help. Further to this, some two thirds said that responding well to a cyber security issue could help to enhance the reputation of the company and stand it in good stead for the future.

On the other side of the coin, companies were reluctant to report incidents as 57 per cent admitted to not making incidents public unless legally bound to do so. Further to this only a third of companies admitted to sharing information with competitors in order to foster best practice and responses to cyber attack.

When it came to those companies that have suffered a cyber security incident, firms confirmed that they would be twice as likely to sign an agreement with a third party expert than companies that hadn’t been attacked.

Of the 360 senior business leader surveyed 36 per cent were based in Europe, 31 per cent in North America and 29 per cent in the Asia Pacific region and 73 per cent of those surveyed were at C-level or on the board.