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Survey shows increasing focus on cybersecurity in UK financial services

Most financial services firms in the UK are taking steps to improve the way they prevent, detect and respond to threats to their cybersecurity, according to a new survey.27 Mar 2017

The latest CBI/PwC financial services quarterly survey highlighted a number of measures being implemented by firms to tackle cyber crime. The survey, of 98 firms, charted the views of firms during the three months to March 2017.

According to the newly published survey results, 84% of financial services firms expect to invest in "preventative technology and IT systems" during the next year, and 83% expect to engage in "penetration testing". A further 82% of firms said they would test incident response plans they have in place for reacting to cyber incidents when they occur.

The survey also revealed that more than two-thirds of firms (72%) intend to invest in cybersecurity training and awareness programmes for staff during the next 12 months, while 67% of firms anticipate hiring specialist security personnel.

The results of the CBI/PwC survey were released as credit reference agency Equifax published the results of a survey it commissioned which provided consumer insights on cybersecurity. According to that survey, more than half of online consumers would prefer to use a biometric security method to access financial accounts online in preference to traditional passwords.

The CBI/PwC survey also highlighted that most financial firms intend to increase their IT expenditure over the next year. However, capital spending on other infrastructure, such as land and building, and vehicles and machinery, is expected to fall. The main reasons for proceeding with investment are to increase efficiency/speed, accord with legislation and regulation, and to expand capacity, the survey said.

Legislation and regulation was identified as the most significant potential constraint on business growth over the coming year.

The CBI/PwC also said that more firms than not indicated that their investment in transforming business models, digitising customer channels, technology and new product development would suffer if they had to account for a rise in regulatory compliance costs.

The survey also highlighted financial firms' concern about where they see competition in their markets. According to the survey, 95% of firms said they see competition coming from other firms operating in their sector, but half of respondents said they also see competition coming from new entrants, while 39% of respondents said competition could stem from businesses in sectors outside of financial services during the next 12 months.