Beckie Hart: Being cyber-aware is crucial for firms

Beckie Hart.
Beckie Hart.
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Technology is at the core of doing business in the modern economy – to advertise and sell, find new markets, customers and staff, communicate with customers and suppliers, and carry out our financial transactions. 

Technology, like the cloud or mobile payments, brings huge opportunities and benefits. But it also brings risks.

Every day there are cyber-attacks on UK companies like yours, attempting to steal your information and money or disrupt your business. 

No business can afford to ignore the issue of cyber-crime.

It’s a big picture threat and cyber-crime has no boundaries. Failing to get this right as a nation could cost the UK economy billions of pounds. 

Cyber security is at the core of a company’s very existence. Attacks are increasing in frequency and sophistication – and financial cost is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what’s at risk.

Sixty per cent of UK manufacturers have been the victim of cyber-crime, and a third of those have suffered some financial loss or disruption to business as a result. 

In Yorkshire and the Humber, we have great companies using technology in innovative ways. Cyber security matters to all businesses and increasing goes to the heart of trust in business.  

First, it has a direct impact on consumer trust because cyber security is not just a building block for trust – it’s the key building block.

How companies protect consumer data is one of the deciding factors that impact where customers put their paycheques.

Secondly, good cyber security will be a determining factor in the success of your technology strategy.

Effective adoption of technologies like AI and the Internet of Things depends on robust cyber resilience. And thirdly, cyber security is critical to win new business. Suppliers are right being held to account on their cyber standards and passing good practice through the supply chain.   

Given how vital cyber security is to consumer trust, it’s no surprise that cyber security dominates headlines and has risen higher up the boardroom agenda.

We’ve come a long way: 8 in 10 businesses now report cyber as a priority. It’s no longer side-lined or seen solely as the IT department’s problem.  

Victims, women, parents and the economically disadvantaged are significantly more likely to fear cyber-crime.  We use the word ‘collaboration’ a lot but it’s more than just a buzzword.

When it comes to cyber, a rising tide really does lift all boats. 

Sharing best practice, learning from other’s mistakes and empowering employees to spot cyber threats makes a real difference. 

As businesses in our region continue to innovate and invest in new technologies, being cyber-aware is more important than ever.