Light thrown on the state of UK IT security, and it’s a red flashing light.

A report from the National Cyber Security Alliance has thrown light on the state of IT security in the UK. Much of the data makes for quite alarming reading.

According to the research, approximately 60% of all businesses that experience a security breach go out of business within six months of the attack.

A number of attack types were cited in the research, including phishing emails, malware and spam. Almost every type of device can be targeted, including laptops, desktop, smartphones and tablets, and the attacks can take place from anywhere in the world.

Recent additional data from Osterman Research (and sponsored by Cyren) raised more alarm. According to the information, security problems in small and medium-sized businesses are common. 75% of the IT and security managers surveyed reported a security breach or infection within the past 12 months. For businesses with less than 1000 employees, the figure was an even higher 85%.

The average number of reported breaches in the same period was 2.1, with data breaches, ransomware, zero-day exploits and targeted attacks among those causing the most concern.

Ransomware was more common for smaller businesses, accounting for 6% of infections in companies with less than 1,000 employees. Businesses with between 2,500 and 5,000 employees reported it as accounting for 3% of infections.

IT Managers seem more concerned with the cost of infection than the cost of protection. Respondents prioritised factors like ease of administration, visibility and advanced security far more than the total life-cycle cost of web or email security solutions.

In the UK, data loss prevention remains a major priority for IT managers. In the study, it was cited as the second-most deployed capability in both web security (64%) and email security (62%).

Despite their frequent use in today’s connected world, mobile devices still receive little protection. Less than 25% of respondents used any form of specialist security on company-owned or BYOD devices.

Guest Wi-Fi networks and remote offices are also left unprotected more often, with less than 30% receiving gateway security. Endpoint protection is largely deemed sufficient for employee laptops and for those working in remote offices.

If you believe your business needs smarter cyber security and IT support, contact us at Nimbus CS today. An IT network is the backbone of every business, so let us protect yours.

Businesses beware: The NHS ransomware attacks were the tip of the cyber-crime iceberg

It’s not a new phenomenon but last week’s WannaCry attacks, which brought havoc to the NHS and thousands of other organisations, also brought ransomware sharply into the spotlight.

Like other malware of this sort, WannaCry threatened to permanently delete locked files unless a payment was made. The unequivocal message from the UK’s National Crime Agency for any individual or business affected by ransomware is not to pay. Apart from the ethical considerations in paying a ransom of this kind, there is absolutely no guarantee that you would get your files back anyway. The reality is that there is no doubt many did pay up.

As malware attacks go, WannaCry was widespread but not hugely sophisticated, and the effects could largely have been avoided with some pretty basic safety measures. Good quality IT support and cyber security services can advise businesses of all types how to improve their defences against ransomware and other types of cyber crime.

Many SME owners and decision-makers seem to think their businesses are too small to become targets but this simply isn’t the case. According to a report by business ISP Beaming, nearly 3 million UK businesses of all shapes and sizes were affected by cyber crime last year, at a cost of £29.1 billion.

It is true that larger businesses are more likely to be targeted. 71% of businesses with more than 250 employees were attacked in 2016 but almost a third of micro-businesses with fewer than 10 employees were also affected. Additionally, larger companies tend to have more resources to deal with cyber attacks and the costs can be proportionally far more serious for smaller businesses. Medium-sized enterprises fall right in the middle and adequate cyber security measures are becoming ever more essential.

Beaming’s survey found that phishing was the most common type of cyber attack experienced by businesses last year, affecting almost 1.3 million victims.

This was followed by computer viruses, hacking/data breaches, denial of service attacks and social engineering. Ransomware was the sixth most common form of attack, with nearly 390,000 business victims. Despite the publicity surrounding the WannaCry attacks, it remains the tips of the iceberg and businesses of all sizes should remain vigilant.



Computer Data Hacker by Visual Content licensed under Creative commons 4

No need to WannaCry, AI the key in cyber security war

No need to WannaCry, AI the key in cyber security war

The good news is following the NHS cyber attack, A&Es are ‘fully open’ again, but the political chaos continues and the latest finger is pointing to North Korea. The whole episode underlines the need for updates and backups. But, with the problem of cyber threats gaining an increasing amount of exposure worldwide, one company is using artificial intelligence to combat the threat.

Something we found interesting in all the chatter is a Cambridge firm Darktrace. Darktrace is using a novel cyber security concept based on the human immune system to sniff out threats. By using self-learning advanced algorithms, their technology uses life patterns for users and devices in order to detect possible problems, with the effect of safeguarding sensitive information further. As with the human immune system, the technology is designed to deal with threats without impacting on the core components of a network.

Darktrace’s Asia Pacific Managing Director, Sanjay Aurora, spoke to CNBC recently. He explained to the news platform: “The philosophy of our entire portfolio, or our approach, is largely based on this DNA: human immune system. How have human beings, for millions of years, thrived and survived? (It) is because of our immune system. Almost every day, we’re hit by unknown unknowns, which is the way organisations are also hit… in terms of viruses and malware.”

Known as ‘cyber AI’, or alternatively ‘machine learning’, this is an interesting development which hints at more solutions which offer an autonomous response to cyber threats, and certainly one which we will be keeping an eye on here at Nimbus.

Meanwhile, the revenue for AI systems has been projected to reach £36 billion by the year 2020, the International Data Corporation (IDC) has predicted in its new spending guide. Most of that figure will be attributed to software, according to the IDC, including cognitive applications such as machine learning, tagging and rich media analytics, as well as cognitive software platforms, which are important to the development of intelligent solutions.

Looking at the geographical split, the North America region encompassing the United States and Canada was the biggest market for AI spend in 2016, with revenues reaching £4.3 billion. EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa) is second in terms of the AI market share, but it is slated that Asia Pacific – including Japan and China – will reach level pegging with EMEA by the year 2020.

Food for thought indeed by that human or otherwise…

Reasons why your small business may need IT support

Being a small business owner naturally means you have a lot of tough decisions to make, and many of them will be financial decisions. It is likely the case that your budget is low and you want to save on costs as much as possible in order to stay profitable and get ahead of the competition. In turn, it may be easy to think that only larger companies need, and can afford, such luxuries as hiring in outside support, but before you jump to this conclusion, see if any of the following points are relevant to your business.

Do you rely on a lot of technical data?

Even small businesses have a vast amount of data held in different areas, such as client emails, contact numbers, names, employee payment details and contact details. Losing this sort of information all of a sudden can have crippling effects on your business and take weeks if not months to properly rectify. In the meantime, you would need to consider how much money you will lose because of such a disaster. Therefore having professionals backup all of this data safely may well be a worthwhile endeavour.

How much time will it take for you to learn these lessons yourself?

If you run a small business, it’s likely you have a small team of employees which means it is your responsibility to take on much of the day-to-day operations as to learn any technical skills that your company needs to protect itself. But make sure you are aware of how much time that may take you, and how long it may take for someone else to be equipped with that knowledge. So in the long run, will there be much of a cost saving if much of your time is spent learning what an IT support company could give you straight away?

What happens if you are away from the office?

If there is a lack of a remote and fast acting support service in place 24 hours a day, then what happens if a problem arises whilst you are away for the weekend, or on holiday or on a business trip? Often, having the peace of mind that an IT support company is on hand 24 hours a day, every day, means that you can be away from the office without having to worry about what will happen if a problem suddenly arises.

As stated, if you are constantly worrying about what to do if an emergency arises or if you are already in such a situation and are looking for a company to help support you, then get in contact today and we can see if we are the right fit to offer you this much-needed assistance.



Support Key by Got Credit licensed under Creative commons 4

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