Forty-one percent of U.S. business leaders consider cybersecurity a major priority, compared to just 20 percent in Europe and 30 percent globally, according to research from BT.

The research found that European businesses are lagging behind their U.S. counterparts in several key areas, including the ability to measure the return on investment of cybersecurity measures (U.S.: 90 percent; Europe: 58 percent) and IT security training given to directors and senior decision makers (U.S.: 86 percent; Europe: 44 percent).

Globally however, 58 percent of IT decision-makers say that their boards underestimate the importance of cybersecurity. The figure increases to 74 percent in the United States, but it drops to 50 percent in Europe.

According to the report, the difference in preparedness levels correlates with attitudes to threats. Non-malicious inside threats (accidental data loss) are the most commonly cited security concern globally – 65 percent of IT decision-makers report them as a serious threat. In Europe, this falls to 56 percent, compared to 85 percent in the U.S.

Globally, more than half of IT decision-makers believe that hacktivism and malicious insider threats will pose a greater risk over the next 12 months. Terrorism is seen as the threat least likely to pose more risk in the next 12 months.

In response, 75 percent of IT decision-makers globally say they would like to overhaul their infrastructure and design them with security features from the ground-up, and 74 percent would like to train all staff in cybersecurity best practices. Fifty-four percent say they would like to engage an outside vendor to monitor the system and prevent attacks.