The figures, published by business insurance firm Hiscox, represent a stark increase compared to those reported in 2018.
According to the Hiscox Cyber Readiness Report 2019, a survey of more than 4,500 organisations across seven countries, just 10 per cent of businesses achieved high enough marks in both cyber security strategy and execution to qualify as cyber security ‘experts’.
In fact, more firms failed the cyber readiness test compared to last year, with almost three-quarters (74 per cent) of firms ranking as unprepared ‘novices’.
It is no surprise, then, to learn that more firms experienced a cyber incident compared to last year, rising from 45 per cent to 61 per cent.
Likewise, the average cost of an attack rose from $229,000 (£176,000) in 2018 to $369,000 (£283,000) in 2019 – an increase of 61 per cent.
Worryingly, the proportion of small and medium firms reporting a cyber incident also rose sharply, from 33 per cent and 36 per cent to 47 per cent and 63 per cent respectively.
Commenting on the report, Gareth Wharton, Hiscox Cyber CEO, said cyber attacks have reached a “new intensity”.
“This is the third Hiscox Cyber Readiness Report and, for the first time, a significant majority of firms report one or more cyber attacks in the past 12 months.
“Where hackers formerly focused on larger companies, small and medium-sized firms now look equally vulnerable. The cyber threat has become the unavoidable cost of doing business today.”
Read the report here.