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UK businesses in desperate need of improving cybersecurity

British firms are putting themselves at risk of being hit by major cyber-attacks such as the WannaCry ransomware due to a lack of proper security skills and awareness, a new government report has warned.

Over two thirds (68 per cent) of board members at FTSE 350 businesses have not been trained to deal with major cyber security attacks, according to the latest government cyber health check report, revealed today.

This was despite more than half of executives recognising that such assaults represent a significant risk to their business.

More worryingly, only one in ten FTSE 350 companies (10 per cent) say they do not currently have a response plan for dealing with a cyber incident, and less than a third of boards have received comprehensive cyber risk information (31 per cent).

Minister for Digital Matt Hancock said that the news shows that, "we have a long way to go" until all British companies organisation adopt best practice when it comes to security, and urged senior executives to work with the National Cyber Security Centre to benefit from Government advice and training.

"We have world leading businesses and a thriving charity sector but recent cyber attacks have shown the devastating effects of not getting our approach to cyber security right," Hancock added.

The government announced its five-year National Cyber Security Strategy (NCSS) back in November 2016. Supported by £1.9 billion of investment, the scheme included the opening of the National Cyber Security Centre, and looks to offer a wealth of free online advice and training schemes for businesses of all sizes.

The report also lifted the lid on a worrying shortcoming when it comes to GDPR, as with less than a year to go before it becomes law, only six per cent of the businesses surveyed say they are completely prepared for the new data protection rules - despite 97 per cent saying they were aware of the new regulation.

The government is set to reveal its new Data Protection Bill before this time, which includes potentially huge fines for any businesses that is not up to scratch.

Mike Moore is Deputy Editor at TechRadar Pro, and has worked as a B2B and B2C tech journalist for nearly a decade, including at one of the UK's leading national newspapers and ITProPortal.