Cyber attacks have remained the top business threat for the second year running, according to a report looking into organisations’ biggest fears.

In a study by the Business Continuity Institute (BCI) and the British Standards Institution (BSI), 85 per cent of business continuity managers said they are worried about cyber attacks.

And 80 per cent said they were worried about the possibility of a data breach similar to those suffered by the Carphone Warehouse and Sony, the report revealed. The news comes as the annual cost of cyber crime stands at £4.1 million per UK company – a 14 per cent increase over last year’s average.

BSI chief executive Howard Kerr said: “2015 saw a number of high-profile businesses across the world hit by cyber attacks, so it’s reassuring to see that so many are aware of the threat it poses. Our research finds it to be the top concern in six out of the eight regions surveyed.

“However, we remain concerned to see that businesses are still not fully utilising the information available to them to identify and remedy weaknesses in their organisational resilience.

“It is difficult to conceive that either investors or employees will be reassured that the leaders of the organisations they trust are making strategic decisions without an effective evaluation of risk.

“Ultimately, organisations must recognise that, while there is risk, and plenty of it, there is also opportunity. Taking advantage of this means that leaders can steer their businesses to succeed by not just surviving, but thriving.”

The top five risks according to the survey were cyber attacks, data breaches, unplanned IT and telecom outages, acts of terrorism and security incidents.

These were followed by interruptions to utility supplies, supply chain disruption, adverse weather, lack of availability of key skills and health and safety incidents.

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