THE UNITED KINGDOM is "lagging behind" in its attitude towards cyber security, research from BT has claimed, with only 17 percent of UK businesses seeing the threat of malicious online activity as a major priority compared to 41 percent in the US.
The study was performed by Vanson Bourne on behalf of BT to research attitudes to cyber security and levels of readiness among IT decision makers, and it found that Blighty is trailing behind its US counterparts in crucial areas of cyber security.
Just 21 percent, or one in five IT decision makers in the UK are able to measure the return on investment (ROI) of their cyber security measures, the research said, compared to the 90 percent of US companies.
This could be attributable to the 86 percent of US decision makers that are given IT security training, compared to just 37 per cent in the UK.
More than half, or 58 percent of global IT decision makers said that their boards underestimate the importance of cyber security. This figure was higher at 74 percent in the US but a bit lower at only 55 percent in the UK.
However, cyber criminals and hackers are not perceived to be the biggest threat to cyber security, but employees within organisations.
"The difference in levels of preparedness correlates with attitudes to threats," the report said. "Non-malicious insider threats, for example accidental loss of data, are currently the most commonly cited security concern globally, being reported as a serious threat by 65 percent of IT decision makers."
In the UK, this figure fell to 60 percent, the report said, and was followed by malicious insider threats at 51 percent, hacktivism at 37 percent, organised crime at 32 percent, nation states at 15 percent and and terrorism at 12 percent.
BT Security CEO Mark Hughes said that the rapid expansion of employee-owned devices, cloud computing and extranets have proliferated the risk of abuse and attack, and thus left organisations exposed to numerous internal and external threats, both malicious and accidental.
"US businesses should be celebrated for putting cyber security on the front foot," he said. "The risks to business are moving too fast for a purely reactive security approach to be successful. Nor should cyber security be seen as an issue for the IT department alone." µ