The vast majority (85 per cent) of businesses believe the number of cyber attacks will increase in the next few years, according to a survey conducted by information intelligence solution provider BAE Systems Detica.
The survey, dubbed Business and the Cyber Threat: Curiously Confident?, questioned 100 strategic and IT decision makers in UK companies with a turnover in excess of £350m.
When asked what would make their board take the business risk of cyber attacks more seriously, 61 per cent of respondents said it would be an attack on their company or a competitor.
There also seems to be growing uncertainty among the industry, with 22 per cent of businesses claiming to be 'very confident' in their ability to deal with cyber attacks this year, compared with 34 per cent in 2010's Cyber Security Survey.
However, even with the recent plethora of distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, the majority of respondents say they are fairly (67 per cent) or very (22 per cent) confident they are well-equipped to prevent targeted attacks.
However, businesses are looking to engage with the government to better understand cyber attacks. A quarter of enterprises are already working with the government and a further 49 per cent have suggested they would be interested in doing so.
And a third of the UK firms estimate the likely financial impact of a targeted cyber attack would be more than £50m. Despite this, Henry Harrison, technical director at BAE Systems Detica, stated that many companies continue to be unaware of the extent of their vulnerability.
"2011 has clearly led businesses to re-evaluate the level of cyber threat and impact, but it seems they are slower to recognise their true level of vulnerability," said Henry Harrison, technical director at BAE Systems Detica.
"However, raised awareness about cyber risk has increased the private sector's desire for collaboration with the government to formulate new responses to this rapidly growing challenge.
"Given the remaining scepticism about the level of vulnerability to the threats businesses face, there is a clear incentive for government to step up its cyber security efforts in this area," he added.
Harrison said it is encouraging that businesses have signalled they want to engage with the government on cyber security issues but urged businesses to evaluate their defences rather than wait to be attacked before acting.