The current financial environment has everyone money conscious, but many companies are still leaving themselves vulnerable to big pay-outs to cyber fraudsters.
Cyber criminals earn three times the average salary of a FTSE 100 chief executive, according to a recent report. Even rookies are raking it in, taking home approximately £15,000 a month. The report found that if it was a country, the global fraud industry would be the third-biggest economy in the world, behind only the US and China.
A fraudster’s win is by definition a company’s (financial) loss. In the UK, the median cost of attacks has doubled to £23,000 in 2022.
The motivation of huge financial gain means that companies are more at risk of a cyber-attack than ever before. UK businesses are some of the most vulnerable, with one in three experiencing breaches or cyber-attacks at least once a week. Understandably, the UK government is now urging companies to invest in more robust cyber security. And investing in cyber is now firmly on most boards’ agendas.
Companies’ answer to the growing threat often comes in the form of a Security Operations Centre (SOC). A SOC is a centralised, manned focal point which aims to monitor, detect and respond to cyber threats around the clock. Its role is to protect an organisation’s assets including their intellectual property, personnel data and business systems. Having a SOC guarantees business leaders peace of mind, knowing there are human analysts watching their network 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, providing an added layer of protection to the artificial intelligence or machine learning most companies solely rely on to pick-up and combat threats.
But while many businesses invest in setting up a SOC, there’s a big piece of the puzzle that is often forgotten about – location.
Where you choose to base your SOC physically is a crucial yet underappreciated decision. It is one which will help or hinder the success of your cyber defence.
Simply put, a locally based SOC is the best step toward protecting your business from the global problem of cyber-attacks.
Having UK-based operations may require more long-term investment. But the benefits far outweigh any short-term costs.
Employing a UK-based team gives you the opportunity to visit your SOC in person. Given the value of the data a SOC is protecting, this should be happening regularly. A business is only as strong as its weakest link. Having face-to-face time with your cybersecurity team is a vital element of knowing your data is safe. As is storing it in a country with robust data privacy regulations, like GDPR.
Another thing many businesses fail to consider when choosing the location of their cybersecurity team is that cyber intrusion simulation, known as red teaming, is multi-faceted. It involves testing both an organisation’s physical and digital security, involving phone calls, tailgating or even pretending to deliver a parcel.
A UK based cybersecurity firm can conduct ‘social engineering,’ a simulated physical intrusion that is a vital step in exposing vulnerabilities, more easily than a firm abroad can practically offer without significant expense.
Perhaps most importantly, by investing in the UK, you reduce the level of risk from foreign actors to your operations. For example, fears of a Russian cyber-attack have forced the firm behind the NHS’s vaccine rollout to move permanently to Britain.
The American firm found itself at the mercy of Russian cyber aggression as Kremlin sponsored operators were targeting the fibre optic cables laid under the Atlantic Ocean. As such, holding data across the pond was deemed an unnecessary risk. A costly relocation inevitably ensued.
As businesses better understand the extent of their digital exposure, the trend of relocating their cybersecurity operations to home shores is only set to increase. But the writing has been on the wall for some time now – investing in UK-based cybersecurity has never been more important. Otherwise, hackers will continue to out-earn us all, with British businesses picking up the tab.