The City UK and Marsh: Focusing on Cyber Attacks

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A new report from the leading global insurance broker Marsh and risk advisor TheCityUK has urged decisions makers in the insurance and financial sectors to take far greater actions regarding cyber-crimes – starting now.

Just last year, an astounding 2.5-million cyber-crimes were reported in the UK, the majority resulting in fraud and loss for the financial sector. The City of London in particular tends to be a popular target for attacks, because of the significant amounts of money and data City firms possess.

In their report, TheCityUK and Marsh make an important reminder that reputation and reliability are shared assets throughout the industry. As such, firms should be encouraged to work together to create a more resilient financial system. It is critical to the UK economy that London in particular remains seen as a reliable global financial centre, especially in times of potential instability.

While the ‘Cyber and The City’ report makes a point of recognising the efforts made by the UK authorities, it stresses the importance of taking further action against cyber-crime. It also points out that it is not just multinational corporations that need to put in the effort. While larger institutions are more likely to be engaged, individual firms must also play a role in enhancing security.

Shockingly, the evidence laid out in the report suggests that too few firms are tackling cyber-crime in a cohesive manner. Only 30% of firms recognise that potential cyber-attacks are a “top 10” risk, and only 30% even have a response plan in place should a cyber-breach occur. Such low numbers are sure to be worrying to consumers!

The report also urges that management within firms should be held responsible when cyber-attacks occur, without the blame being placed squarely on the shoulders of IT departments. Too often, IT professionals are made the scapegoats when breaches happen when in fact, 95% of cyber-attacks are due to human error. People and processes must be seen as important as technology in preventing cyber-crime.

Cyber and The City suggest that a cyber-forum be established so firms can work together to develop and share best practices, information and support in the battle against cyber-crime. The forum should also work together to aggregate risk and develop a recovery system for stronger overall cyber security.

Finally, the report urges that insurance and financial professionals stop treating cyber-crime like it is a problem for the future. With more than 2.5-million attacks in the UK last year, there is no doubt that it is an immediate threat.

The industry must absolutely pull together and develop practical steps to protect their businesses and their customers, making cyber hygiene as commonplace as locking the doors when you leave the office at the end of the night.

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