The UK's top companies are not considering cyber risks in their decision making, a new survey from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has revealed.

The survey of FTSE 350 firms showed only 14 per cent are regularly considering cyber threats, with a significant number not receiving any intelligence about cyber criminals.

However, 62 per cent of companies think their board members are taking the cyber risk very seriously and 60 per cent understand what their key information and data assets are, the survey indicated.

David Willetts, Science Minister, said:

"The cyber crime threat facing UK companies is increasing. Many are already taking this extremely seriously, but more still needs to be done.

"We are working with businesses to encourage them to make cyber security a board-level responsibility."

To tackle the growing threat the government is working with industry to develop an official "cyber standard" which will help stimulate the adoption of good cyber practices among business.

Backed by industry, the kitemark-style standard will be launched early next year, as part of the £860 million cross-government National Cyber Security Programme.

Mr Willetts added:

"The cyber standard will promote excellence in tackling cyber risks, help businesses better understand how to protect themselves, and ultimately increase the nation's collective cyber security."

BIS's cyber governance health check was sent to the chairs of the audit committee of the FTSE 350 companies in August via the six largest audit firms.

Each company which completed the survey will be offered follow-up advice from one of the firms, based on their responses.

Computer KeybordThe anonymous results, published yesterday by BIS, also show:

– 25 per cent of companies considered cyber a top risk

– 39 per cent had used the government's 10 Steps cyber security guidance

– 56 per cent have cyber on the risk register

– 17 per cent have clearly set what they see as an acceptable level of cyber risk

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