[Skip to content]

Sign up for our daily newsletter
The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

Insurance firms among top cyber security investors

Finance and insurance firms invested more in cyber security last year than companies from any other sector, analysis of UK government data has found.

Cyber spending on the rise ©iStock

The findings show that finance and insurance firms invested an average of £22,050 in 2018/19, a 23% increase on the £17,900 recorded in the previous year.

Businesses in health, social care and social work invested the second-highest amount on £16,800, a massive 506% rise on the £2,770 spent on average in 2017/18.

This comes as the frequency and severity of cyber attacks continues to grow, with 55% of UK firms suffering breaches in 2019, up from 40% last year.

“As cyber attacks become more frequent and complex, security has to be a high priority for firms,” said Darren James, cyber security expert at Specops Software, which carried out the latest analysis.

“Key decision makers need to carefully understand and manage their online eco-system to ensure it consistently has the adequate defences in place to protect against varying threats."

The analysis covers the cyber security investment of 1,091 firms from a range of sectors between April 2018 and March 2019, compared with the previous 12 months.

It shows that the hospitality and food sector spent least last year, followed by businesses in entertainment, service and membership, and real estate and administration.

The top five sectors for cyber security investment in 2018/19 are shown below:

Source: Specops Software
Source: Specops Software

This comes after separate research found that cyber attacks on the UK’s financial services sector increased by 480% in 2018, with insurance firms among the most targeted.

A total of 145 data breaches were reported to the Financial Conduct Authority last year, up from just 25 in 2017, according to the findings from law firm RPC.

Wholesale financial market firms like investment banks recorded the highest rise in cyber attacks, jumping from three to 34, while insurers saw breaches increase from seven to 33.

“The increase in reports, however, does show that the financial services industry is now taking cyber security more seriously than ever,” RPC partner, Richard Breavington, said.

Sign up to our free newsletter here and receive a weekly roundup of news concerning the actuarial profession