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Physical security breaches continue to outweigh cyber attacks

Vanderbilt Industries : 16 June, 2015  (Technical Article)
Vanderbilt survey shows extent of physical security breaches suffered by organisations with nearly three times as many taking place then cyber attacks
Physical security breaches continue to outweigh cyber attacks

A comprehensive study conducted across four European countries by YouGov for Vanderbilt reveals that more than one in four (28%) of small and medium sized British businesses have suffered loss, disruption or inconvenience as a direct result of physical or cyber security breaches.

Yet while cyber security arguably gets the lion’s share of media and business attention, British businesses report nearly three times as many physical breaches in security at their workplace (23%) than virtual, or cyber, attacks (8%).  This is particularly true of small businesses, where 20% have suffered a physical breach, yet only 6% have experienced cyber security attacks.  However, medium-sized businesses reported higher number of physical breaches in security (32%) and cyber attacks (13%).

The survey forms part of Vanderbilt’s 2015 European Security Barometer, which tests the climate of the electronic security market in Europe. The research provides valuable insight into consumer and business attitudes towards security, and reveals the efforts they make to keep their homes and businesses safe from harm.

As part of the survey, senior decision makers at small to medium sized businesses with up to 249 employees in Great Britain, France, Germany and Spain were asked about the loss, disruption of inconvenience caused to their businesses by breaches in security.

“The fact that many of the British businesses we surveyed do not have electronic security products like access control, CCTV or remote monitoring is a cause for serious concern,” noted Joe Grillo, Managing Director of Vanderbilt International.  “This is especially true given the number of security breaches that businesses report – and the loss, inconvenience and disruption that these cause.”

The survey found that, where businesses do install electronic security equipment, it is to meet practical concerns.  Equipment is installed to prevent theft, vandalism and unauthorised access, yet considerations such as duty of care to employees, regulatory compliance, lowering insurance premiums and maintaining business continuity do not seem to factor anywhere near as highly.

British businesses confirm that, when it comes to specifying and purchasing electronic security products, brand loyalty is a minor concern. The survey reveals they value quality, price and features above customer service, integration and the brand.

Consumers were also questioned as part of the survey.  A key discovery was the fact that 59% of British adults believe Great Britain is more at risk from terrorist threats, crime and violence than a year ago.

The survey also reveals overwhelming support for the use of CCTV in combating crime, with nearly nine out of ten (89%) British adults supporting its role in preventing crime and providing evidence to the Police.  In addition, 68% of British adults do not believe CCTV represents an infringement of civil liberties, or that it invades their privacy.

The belief that Great Britain is more at risk than a year ago may be influenced by memories of recent terrorist events across Europe, and the fact that terrorist attacks (even if most are thwarted) are now sadly a regular feature in the news.

“The concern voiced in the survey is interesting when placed in the context of a downward trend in the number of recorded crimes”, noted Joe Grillo.

The Crime Survey for England and Wales revealed 11% fewer crimes in in 2014, while European Union figures show that violent crime declined across the EU by 6% between 2007 and 2010 - much of it explained by fewer crimes in England & Wales.

Despite their fears, few British households have installed electronic security products in their homes to better protect their families and property.  Indeed, only a minority of households have an intruder or burglar alarm (28%), an access control system with keypad or swipecard (5%), or CCTV (7%). British households have more intruder or burglar alarms installed than their counterparts in France, Germany, Spain or Sweden, however.

The survey revealed considerable interest amongst householders for advanced security technologies.  A third were interested in an integrated security system that combined CCTV, intruder alarms and access control; while 35% were interested in security products that can be linked with, and made to work alongside, other appliances in the ‘connected home’ of the future.

Crucially, this interest is not restricted to those that own their own homes: 36% of those that rent their home from a private landlord are interested in an integrated security system, compared to only 28% of those who owned their home outright.

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