UK businesses are set to spend increasing amounts of money on cyber security experts to respond to hacking attacks and protect vulnerable IT systems, as cyber criminals adopt increasingly sophisticated measures to defend companies, according to a new report.
The study, produced by Manpower, shows that there has been a surge in cyber security salaries, with the UK’s top experts now billing major companies over £10,000 a day to protect vulnerable IT systems. Even less experienced specialists can still command fees of over £3,000 a day to put defences in place or react to breaches.
The influence of the digital world is impacting hiring patterns in many areas, as three-quarters of British consumers believe they will do at least half of their Christmas shopping online this year. Therefore, with more consumers sharing personal and financial details with businesses, the need for robust protections will be higher than ever.
Such is the growth of online shopping, there has been a record number of requests for specialists with knowledge of IT security in 2015, which is four times the demand recorded last year.
Recent incidents such as the hacking of TalkTalk have pushed the issue even further into the limelight as businesses struggle to adapt to new cyber crime methods.
Mark Cahill, managing director of ManpowerGroup UK, said: "There are millions of cyber attacks every day, with a total cost to the global economy of up to $575 billion (£383.5 billion) a year.
"Companies are having to invest heavily to protect themselves and they now believe that cyber breaches are inevitable, with their focus moving to responding to attacks rather than just prevention."
Mr Cahill went on to say that the biggest growth area next year will be cyber security crisis management, as large organisations will improve their in-house security, as well as turning to specialist contractors such as managed security services.
In many businesses, there is a lack of education surrounding data security, as many workers are unaware of the dangers that come with leaving personal data unprotected.
The UK government has already confirmed it will increase cyber security spending to £2 billion by 2020. As part of this plan, cyber security spending will improve in schools to ensure the next generation of workers will have a strong understanding of how to keep safe online.
Chancellor George Osborne also confirmed that two innovation centres will be introduced in the South West of England in a bid to bolster the country's cyber sector. This will be launched as part of the £165 million Defence and Cyber Innovation Fund.
"The impact of last year's attack on Sony should be a warning to anyone who thinks that such attacks are just a matter for the companies concerned.
"We have a collective interest in the cyber defences of individual companies across the British economy," Mr Osborne explained in a statement.
He went on to say that TalkTalk's incident shows how a cyber attack can move from being a theoretical danger to an enormous business cost.
With such large sums being pumped into the cyber sector, it will be interesting to see how security is integrated into education in the coming years and whether it makes customers and businesses feel more protected.