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North West firms lose £107million each year due to cyber-crime…

…and £70million of this is avoidable.

North West companies are particularly vulnerable to the effects of cyber-crime, according to research.

The July 2014 report published by Lancaster University reveals that among the industries operating in the North West of England, the transport, health, professional and scientific sectors face particular risks to cyber crime. The total cost to the North West economy stands at £107million per year.

The research identified that smaller companies are most vulnerable to hackers and industrial espionage, in part due to their reduced size and inability to withstand losses, but also because of poor awareness of cyber security, meaning they are less likely to have robust security measures in place. The North West is further exposed in this respect as its economy to more balanced towards SMEs than other parts of the UK. A wider take-up of cyber security measures, it is suggested, could save more than £70million in financial or critical information losses each year.

50% of firms fall victim

Precise figures on the cost to businesses due to cyber-crime are notoriously difficult to establish as victims do not wish to reveal breaches to their cyber security through fear of damage to their reputation. The study though, bases its calculation on a rate of 50% of firms experiencing at least one breach a year, making the total potential loss in the North West £107million. However, previous similar studies into cyber security have suggested that as many as 93% of large companies and 87% of SMEs suffer a breach annually.

In response to the findings of the report, Joel Tobias, who leads cyber security firm CYFOR, which has a national and North West regional presence, said:

“Cyber-crime can be crippling and even fatal, particularly to SMEs in terms of loss of reputation, operational disruption and even as far as cold, hard cash. As specialists in mitigating cyber security risks, CYFOR not only investigates cyber security breaches but also helps organisations to minimise opportunities for criminals to steal money, commercially sensitive data and intellectual property in the first place. I would strongly urge business leaders to take the issue of cyber security seriously. With the right technical advice and by undertaking some simple steps, organisations may alleviate many of the associated risks posed by a host of very determined and skilled criminals intent on exploiting their vulnerabilities.”

The UK Cyber Security Market

The report also analysed the cyber security market. Highlights include:

  • The UK cyber security market is worth £2.7billion per year
  • The North West-based cyber security industry services 6% of this national total (£162million)
  • The North West market is currently worth around £428 million a year
  • North West businesses are losing £107million per year to cyber crime
  • £70million of this loss is avoidable
  • The UK Government has a target of raising cyber-security exports to £2billion by 2018

MD of CYFOR Joel Tobias added:

“Notwithstanding the obvious damage to our economy, the benefits to the regional economy of implementing cyber security measures are clear. Additionally, there are business opportunities to grow the cyber security sector itself in the North West by providing advice scaled to the specific market demands of businesses within region.”

Note: CYFOR is a UK corporate cyber security, eDisclosure, digital recovery and forensic investigations provider to the national and international markets. With its roots in the North West of England, CYFOR has offices in Manchester, London, Dublin and Edinburgh.

DISCLAIMER: The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.

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