Half of Britain’s manufacturers have been the victim of cyber crime during the last 12 months, during the period when thousands of organisations moved their staff to remote working when the COVID crisis struck, according to a report by manufacturers’ trade body Make UK. It found that cyber criminals have been exploiting the emergency working measures mounting attacks which have come at a massive cost to businesses, with a quarter of companies reporting losses of up to £25,000 for each cyber breach and 6% losing over £100,000 as a result of an attack.
The report – Cyber Resilience: The Last Line of Defence – reveals that 50% of manufacturers said that cyber security has become a higher priority since the start of the COVID outbreak, with 61% of companies now having a designated board director responsible for cyber protection across the whole of their business.
Cyber threat is increasingly a business-critical issue, with 43% of manufacturers reporting that they have been asked by a customer to demonstrate or guarantee the robustness of their cyber processes, while one in five have themselves asked customers or suppliers to show that they are cyber resilient and have effective measures in place to counter against any attack. 52% of those polled said they have taken out insurance to cover any losses from cyber incidents, while 87% of companies believe they have the right tools and technologies in place to deal with any cyber incursion. A further 91% said that they have the correct knowledge now in place to assess their cyber risk.
However, despite significant improvements in cyber awareness over the last two years with a reduction in attacks by 10% across the sector, 44% of manufacturers still do not offer cyber security training to their staff, and 47% of companies do not have a formal plan or process agreed in case of an attack. 66% of manufacturers report that cyber security does not have a regular slot on their board’s monthly agenda in spite of the heightened risk from remote working.
Stephen Phipson, CEO of Make UK, said: “Digitisation is revolutionising modern manufacturing and has without doubt kept it running successfully over the past year. The rewards are obvious – technological leaps in the design, development, fabrication and operation of the goods and services the UK makes. But the cyber security threat to manufacturers is growing and evolving with it.
“No business can afford to ignore this issue and while the increased awareness across the sector is encouraging, there is still much to be done with too many businesses still burying their heads in the sand. This is a strategic threat; failing to get this right as a nation could cost the UK economy billions of pounds and put thousands of jobs at risk. Every business is vulnerable and every business needs to take the necessary steps to protect themselves properly.”
The Make UK survey suggests that investment in the latest digital technologies is also being hampered, with many companies holding back from implementing the latest innovations for fear of increased exposure to cyber attack. One in eight companies surveyed admitted they are currently not investing in new digital processes even though they know they should do so to continue to be able to compete in an ever-changing global marketplace.