The average cost of the most severe online security breaches for big business started at £1.46m this year, according to government research published on Tuesday.
The Information Security Breaches Survey 2015 showed that the costs of malicious software attacks and staff-related breaches have nearly doubled compared to last year for big business.
For small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs), the cost of the most severe breaches can now reach as high as £310,000 - up from £115,000 in 2014.
“The UK’s digital economy is strong and growing, which is why British businesses remain an attractive target for cyber-attack and the cost is rising dramatically,” Ed Vaizey, Digital Economy Minister, said.
“Businesses that take this threat seriously are not only protecting themselves and their customers’ data, but securing a competitive advantage.”
The survey showed that nearly nine out of 10 large organisations suffered some form of security breach – suggesting that these incidents are now a near certainty. Despite the increase in staff awareness training, people are as likely to cause a breach as viruses and other types of malicious software.
A total of 90 per cent of large organisations reported they had suffered an information security breach, while 74 per cent of small and medium-sized businesses reported the same.
Attacks from outsiders have become a greater threat for both small and large businesses.
Andrew Miller, Cyber Security Director at PwC, said: “With nine out of 10 respondents reporting a cyber-breach in the past year, every organisation needs to be considering how they defend and deal with the cyber threats they face.
“Breaches are becoming increasingly sophisticated, often involving internal staff to amplify their effect, and the impacts we are seeing are increasingly long-lasting and costly to deal with.”