More than half (54%) of CEOs in European companies are taking responsibility for cyber-security as it is now considered to be an executive responsibility.
New research from Lloyds of London discovered that although cyber is now at the top of the boardroom agenda, many still underestimate the potential impact of a cyber-attack or data breach.
Only 13 percent of European companies believing they will lose trade if a cyber-attack occurs, despite recent high-profile data breaches.
The survey collected responses from nearly 350 senior business decision makers from across Europe, which included 100 from UK businesses.
"New Europe-wide regulations will mean that businesses have to be more responsive to any cyber-incident than may have been the case in the past. Insurance companies provide more than just cover for any lost income, they offer a wraparound service that can keep businesses on the right side of regulation and help protect their customers and their reputation," said Inga Beale, Lloyd's chief executive.
Whilst 92 percent of businesses suffered a cyber-security breach in the past five years, only 42 percent are concerned that another breach will happen in the future.
In Britain, 97 percent of businesses have experienced a breach in the past five years yet only 53 percent are concerned that their company will suffer another breach in the future.
Despite the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) coming into effect in under two years, 57 percent of business leaders admitted they do not fully understand the potential implications of the GDPR on their company.
Awareness of the implications the GDPR could have on a business would include regulatory investigation (64 percent), financial penalties (58 percent), impact on share price (57 percent) and reputation (52 percent).
Only 16 percent of British businesses believe they could lose their customers as a result of a breach. More than half (55 percent) of British businesses are unaware that there are cyber-insurance products that provide cover and services to companies that suffer a data breach.
Treavor Dearing, EMEA marketing director at Gigamon commented by email to SCMagazineUK.com: "In this day and age, businesses - irrespective of size - simply cannot afford to be complacent when it comes to cyber-security. The fact that so many businesses believe they are secure, even though they have previously reported cyber-attacks, just goes to show the level of disconnect and confusion that unfortunately plagues so many organisations when it comes to their cyber-security position.
Dearing continued: "The number and severity of data breaches is definitely increasing every day, and as critical infrastructure continues to move online, businesses are becoming increasingly vulnerable to cyber-threats. It's no secret that organisations are fighting a growing enemy - barely a week goes by without news of another major brand being breached by ever-determined and well-equipped cyber-criminals. Despite our best defences, hackers are not just getting through, they are staying undetected on corporate networks for longer. To combat this, organisations and security vendors must ditch the complacency and instead fight smarter, in a more joined up way to identify, isolate and eliminate cyber-threats faster."