Digital transformation in the UK hindered by security concerns

A new report from EY has revealed that 67 per cent of British firms are refraining from adopting new technologies in the fear that they would bring in greater cybersecurity risks to the company.

Titled “Cybersecurity for competitive advantages”, the report polled 175 senior executives at firms around the country. It revealed that 76 per cent of those surveyed believed that having strong cybersecurity measures would be important to their competitive advantage. However, many were reluctant to implement new technologies, fearing that it would make them more vulnerable to data breaches and cyber-attack attempts.

Mike Maddison, the advisory cybersecurity leader for Europe at EY, said: “There is pressure for companies to compete in the technology arms race, but cybersecurity fears are sometimes thwarting adoption in important areas such as cloud computing, blockchain, artificial intelligence and IoT.

“This is illustrated in the concerns of our survey respondents, with 42 per cent of technology and business leaders saying they feel that they are behind their competitors in the adoption of new technology.”

Maddison further noted that as a result of new regulatory changes and the growing frequency of data breaches and hacks, as well as the increasing importance of technology for companies, cybersecurity had risen in prevalence amongst corporate executives.

He said: “Protection and prevention are still paramount yet, to stay ahead of these evolving trends, organisations need to start thinking differently about cybersecurity. Business leaders need to make the leap from seeing cybersecurity as only a protective measure, to it also being a strategic value driver.”

The research further revealed that the importance of cybersecurity was measured differently across sectors, with those that handled customers’ personal data regularly valuing cybersecurity at a higher rate than those that did not. Maddison warned that this mentality needs to change.

“Although direct board expertise in cybersecurity may not be needed, board-level understanding of the risks to the business is needed for a stronger cybersecurity posture. In addition, for more than half (53%) of organisations surveyed, a lack of business ownership is seen as the biggest barrier to improving their cybersecurity,” he said.