Businesses in the food and hospitality industry spent less on cybersecurity than businesses in any other sector. This is according to a survey from Specops Software, covering UK businesses in 2018-19.

The survey involved 1,091 UK firms’ spending on cybersecurity from a wide range of sectors, and food and hospitality firms spent an average of just £1,080 in the year. Despite being the lowest of any industry, this still represents a 20% increase on the previous year, and there have been numerous data breaches and hacking attempts.

A serious problem

A shocking 55% of firms registered in the UK have faced cyber-incidents and losses from breaches in 2019, amounting to a staggering £176,000 average loss. Hospitality has been hit hard by many kinds of cyber attacks and data breaches – Marriott International incurred a £99 million penalty from the Information Commissioner’s Office for breaching GDPR. These kinds of penalties are intended as a deterrent against complacency regarding being cybersecurity compliant, but it hasn’t stopped breaches occurring throughout the sector.

Getting it right

By contrast, finance and insurance firms invested the most in cybersecurity across the same period, averaging £22,050. Health and social care came in second, spending a whopping 506% more on cybersecurity compared to the previous year for an average of £16,800. With cyber-attacks becoming ever more frequent and sophisticated, all firms must consider cybersecurity a priority. The consequences of not doing so include all web and digital communication platforms exposed to devastating attacks, as well as the risk of punitive fines.

Key decision-makers in companies must ensure they are paying due diligence to their cyber essentials, and the need is more urgent in the food and hospitality industry than any other in the UK. Every company’s online ecosystem must be continually monitored to ensure it always has adequate defences to protect against ever-evolving cyber threats.

Making the right improvements

The Cyber Essentials and Cyber Essentials Plus schemes are the schemes that enable companies to meet IASME information assurance standards. All firms that achieve certification in these schemes will be taking the full range of precautions to ensure their cybersecurity is up to scratch. This includes training of staff to follow best practice guidelines at every stage, taking a holistic approach to cybersecurity.

If you are in the food and hospitality sector, and wondering where your cybersecurity budget would be best invested, CyberSmart can help you avoid 98.5% of cyber threats by ensuring you start with the basics, lift your cybersecurity standards up to scratch in no time, and support you in maintaining the highest levels of cybersecurity for the long term.