When it comes to taking action on cybersecurity, many businesses are freezing over concerns that they cannot match the capabilities of hackers.

This is according to a survey of European executives conducted by RSM for the European Business Awards, which found that 61% of business leaders see hackers as more sophisticated and capable than software developers.

Almost the same number, 60%, believe that their company networks may have been breached without their knowledge, while 73% believe they are at risk of cybercrime.

Only 31% of business leaders think their security strategy is adequate to protect them from cyberattack.

More cybersecurity action needed

These concerns appear to be translating into inaction from a significant minority of businesses.

21% of those surveyed have no cybersecurity plan in place at all, despite the risk and financial implications of being hit by a cyberattack.

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By GlobalData

For RSM, the lack of confidence in a business’ ability to stand up to hackers is understandable – but it is no excuse for avoiding building a robust cybersecurity strategy.

“When it comes to cybersecurity, the lack of confidence from businesses is understandable because the reality today is that the threats are greater than protection, the hacker is always two steps ahead,” said Gregor Strobl, head of technology and cyber risk assurance at RSM Germany.

“Not only are there more hackers, but we have seen a move towards syndicates where criminal organisations across the globe are joining forces, often working together via the dark web quite often geopolitically, making the threat stronger.

“However, doing nothing is not an option. It is very worrying that one in five European businesses have no co-ordinated way of tackling cybercrime. Investing in controls to prevent, detect, contain and build reliance can be the difference between a controlled response with little impact, or a public scandal with significant financial loss.”

Read more: Understanding cybersecurity in the world of risk society