Intelligent CIO Europe Issue 61 | Page 70

INTELLIGENT BRANDS // Enterprise Security

Report reveals UK professional services organisations are subject to multiple cyberattacks every week

Professional service organisations encompass key industries that are bearing the brunt of cybercrime , according to new research by Keeper Security .

The 2022 professional services
Cybersecurity Census Report reveals that a high number of incidents of cybercrime have been directed at these organisations , with IT leaders citing an average of 161 cyberattacks over the last 12 months , resulting in both financial and reputational damage .
Almost all ( 93 %) of those surveyed believe the severity of cyberattacks will increase over the next year and that the time taken to detect a cyberattack is increasing . Nearly eight out of 10 ( 77 %) professional services leaders say they need more time when attacks occur , reporting that the time taken to identify and respond to a cyberattack has increased in the past 12 months . An evidently belated response could be compounded by technical deficiencies or internal shortcomings .
Cybersecurity investments to mitigate risk tools and tech stack , then the professional services industry will be more resilient . However , if this investment is curtailed and compounded by poor internal security training , then the severity and frequency of cyberattacks found in the report will continue to impact businesses .
The harmful impact of cyberattacks on organisations
Nearly a third ( 31 %) of professional services organisations surveyed as part of the study have experienced financial theft , with 42 % having between £ 100,000 and £ 999,999 stolen .
But financial damage is only one implication of a cyberattack . Reputational damage , compromised supply chains and loss of stakeholder confidence can have enduring effects . According to the study , nearly half ( 47 %) of professional services firms have experienced reputational damage as a result of a successful cyberattack , with 46 % suffering from disruption of partner / customer operations . Notably , 39 % experienced loss of a business contract , underscoring the knockon effects of cybercrime .
Preparing for the future
Against the backdrop of rising cybercrime , investment in cybersecurity will be key to safeguarding businesses ’ infrastructure . Among the surveyed professional services leaders , the study found an appreciation of the growing threat of cyberattacks , however , there were differing perceptions of the investment needed and implementation necessary to reinforce their cyberdefences .
Rising external threats were ranked as the top cybersecurity concern among 50 % of the professional services respondents , with just 3 % saying cybersecurity was not important to the C-suite at their organisation .
Less than half ( 40 %) cited the need to address skills gaps within their staff and more than a third ( 37 %) noted the weak link presented to an organisation ’ s cyberdefence through contractors , interns and unsophisticated users inadvertently exposing an organisation to risk .
The study also unearthed a discrepancy between awareness of cybersecurity and the investment from leaders in the skills and technologies needed to improve their cyberdefences . A low number ( 20 %) of respondents did not have a secrets manager to help manage IT secrets such as API keys , database passwords and credentials and 15 % did not have a connections manager to help manage remote access to privileged infrastructures .
If awareness of the skills and technology shortage impacting cybersecurity can be acted on with the investment in the right
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