Government says top companies not taking cyber threats seriously

Only 14 percent of FTSE 350 firms consider cyber security regularly

The UK's top companies are "not considering cyber risks in their decision making", says the government, after publishing a survey from the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills on cyber threats.

The survey of FTSE 350 firms showed only 14 percent are regularly considering cyber threats, with a significant number not receiving any intelligence about cyber criminals.

However 62 percent of companies think their board members are taking the cyber risk very seriously, and 60 percent say they understand what their key information and data assets are.

Science minister David Willetts said: "The cyber crime threat facing UK companies is increasing. Many are already taking this extremely seriously, but more still needs to be done."We are working with businesses to encourage them to make cyber security a board-level responsibility."

He said the government is working with industry to develop an official "cyber standard", which he said would stimulate the adoption of good cyber practices among business.

Backed by industry, the kitemark-style standard will be launched early next year, as part of the £860 million cross-government National Cyber Security Programme.

For the survey, BIS' cyber governance health check was sent to the chairs of the audit committee of the FTSE 350 companies in August via the six largest audit firms.

Each company which completed the survey will be offered follow-up advice from one of the firms, based on their responses.

The anonymous results show that 25 percent of companies considered cyber threats a top risk, and that 39 percent had used the government's 10 steps cyber security guidance.

The survey also found that 56 percent have cyber threats on their risk register, and that 17 percent have "clearly set what they see as an acceptable level of cyber risk".

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