A survey of managers has found that nearly two thirds believe cyber security threats are increasingly posing a serious risk to their business.
The Chartered Management Institute is urging firms to do more to plan for unexpected problems such as extreme weather, staff sickness or cyber attacks after it warned that a “blinkered” approach was putting businesses at risk.
The institute surveyed more than 1,000 managers to examine how prepared they were for unexpected and damaging disruptions to their day-to-day operations over the past year.
The findings showed that one in three firms were hit by some sort of cyber attack in the past year, including losing confidential information. Companies were also affected by heavy snow, the volcanic ash cloud, and the influenza epidemic.
The institute said fewer than half of firms in the private sector were prepared for threats to their day-to-day running and it is urging firms to have plans in place to deal with a crisis.
Chief executive Ruth Spellman said that “every time an unexpected event interrupts or halts the operations of a business, charity or public sector body in this country, UK plc suffers - yet with good management, this could be avoided”.
“With so many organisations now relying on online networks and systems to function, cyber security breaches have joined extreme weather, contagious illness and transport disruptions as one of the top risks to businesses performance.
“Managers need to ensure that they have proactive plans in place to deal with the potential threats that could impact their business,” Spellman said.