The Significant Threats Facing UK Business Emerges In 2021 Census Report

Penetration Testing Experts


Nine out of ten UK organisations are aware of a weak link in their cybersecurity defence. That means almost everyone is vulnerable to a hack or a cyber attack and staying safe online is more a matter of luck than foolproof defenses.

This is just one of many interesting facts that emerged from a definitive study entitled the 2021 UK Cybersecurity Census Report released last week.


Between April and May 2021, over one thousand senior IT decision makers were interviewed about the state of cybersecurity in the UK, and their observations and insights made for stark reading about the threats that we’re all facing.


Experts were in no mood to minimize the threat, agreeing that the UK had never before been under such a sophisticated and aggressive cyberthreat scenario as it is at the moment. This threat, and our response to it, has only worsened during the pandemic.


But that message is not getting across to enough people. The report shows how nearly all businesses seem to be underestimating the threat and ‘investing far too little into their IT and cybersecurity solutions’. Professionals in the industry who understand the threat are calling for more regulation as well as an independent regulatory body to remedy the situation. Cybersecurity departments at firms, big and small, and are under intense pressure at work to keep the data that we rely on safe and operational.


It’s a very difficult time to be a cybersecurity manager.


Here are a few statistics that jumped out of the report:


  • Almost all (92%) UK organisations are aware of gaps or weak links in

their cybersecurity defences are, but less than half (40%) are

actively addressing all of them


  • Two-thirds (66%) of UK organisations have relaxed their cybersecurity

policies over the past 12 months so staff can work remotely or in

order not to stifle productivity


  • 58% of IT professionals feel employees at their organisations do not

understand the full consequences of poor cyber-hygiene


  • 61% of UK companies have a skills shortage in cybersecurity


The toll that cyberattacks take on a business is not to be underestimated. Nearly one out of every two victims reported that they had lost over £50 000, while one in eight had lost a staggering million pounds on average. That kind of financial fallout can mean a company never recovers and is forced to close down. After all, these cyberattacks are not just happening to big corporates. 49% of those affected have fewer than 50 employees.


The report also offered some good insights into the long-term effects of a cyberattack on a business. The most common effect was a disruption to trading, followed by disruption to partner or customer operations and a disruption to the supply chain. One in three companies reported reputational damage and 28% listed the theft of corporate information as a significant consequence of the attack.


It should go without saying that a powerful cybersecurity presence should be essential for any business working online today, but that seems not to be the case. ‘Surprisingly, for many UK organisations, IT and cybersecurity investments are still not a top priority. About a quarter of all companies (28%) don’t consider IT to be one of their top 3 priorities for the next 12 months. Less than half (44%) say it is their top priority. This is especially worrying as almost all (92%) UK organisations are aware of where the gaps or weak links in their cybersecurity defences are, but less than half (40%) are actively addressing all of them.”


In this environment, there is a good opportunity for companies with a solid, proactive cybersecurity profile to market themselves aggressively as a safe pair of hands. Consumers are increasingly aware of the risks they take partnering with vulnerable companies and are looking to build sophisticated, secure relationships to fulfill all the potential that the digital economy offers.


Click here to read the full 2021 UK Cybersecurity Census Report


Get in touch with us here at 2|SEC and find out how we can set you apart with a robust security solution that will make you stand out from your peers.

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