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Three quarters of companies claim to be secure against cyber attacks – despite half of them having been attacked in the past. Although 29 per cent of attacks resulted in a data breach, 86 per cent of firms think they are doing enough to mitigate the impact of attacks, according to a Juniper Research report.

Meanwhile, 27 per cent of small- and medium-sized businesses believe they are secure from cyber threats because they are “too small” to be of interest to attackers.

Most of the firms surveyed think it is enough to have the IT or security department working to stop attacks, with a third saying IT has sole responsibility. Nearly two thirds of those questioned said cyber security is not their departments’ responsibility.

While more than three quarters of businesses have a board that helps assess preparedness, only a quarter have a dedicated security executive.

And although 87 per cent of firms have a continuity plan in place, fewer than half of businesses have best practice guidelines to help employees stay secure.

This shows in workers’ responses to the survey. While 69 per cent would contact somebody immediately if they discovered a cyber breach, 18 per cent said they would wait until the next day if they did not consider it a big problem.

This includes 38 per cent of founders and 27 per cent of board-level staff.

“Cyber security is a big concern for businesses of all sizes, as an attack could cost millions of pounds in lost data, reputation, time and customers,” said Windsor Holden, head of forecasting and consultancy at Juniper Research.

“Yet our study shows that businesses believe they are far more secure than they really are.

“While no business can be completely safe nowadays, there are steps that companies can take to ensure they are as safe as possible, and can recover as quickly as possible in the event of a cyber attack.”

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