Consumers face risk of cybercrime as small businesses fail to act

Despite the dangers to their clients, the majority of small businesses remain open to cyber-attacks, new research has revealed.

Nearly three quarters of firms said they were aware that they put consumers at risk too, according to StayPrivate.

However they still send private and confidential information insecurely, while the study suggests many firms lack the correct processes and procedures to tackle cybercrime too.

It identified that many business leaders, especially those at smaller firms, hold the view that cybercriminals will only target larger institutions.

As a result, they lack the necessary protection and are not doing enough to protect important data and their customers, it is claimed.

Checking email recipients was many particular issues noted in the study, as more than a quarter of individuals said they regularly send messages to the wrong people.

On top of this, 73% of business owners said they know using personal accounts for customers when sending confidential information makes them a target, yet they do it anyway.

Nearly half of firms expect to be hit by cybercrime in the future too, suggesting they feel vulnerable and without adequate protection.

One in five firms said they have already been victims of a cyber-attack or had seen private information compromised.

A key aspect of tackling the issue requires firms to make their channels of communication as private as possible, which then limits potential opportunities for criminal activity.

The major issue for smaller firms comes in the form of reputational damage – while it can have severe impacts on large companies, smaller ones can often be hit even more.

In some instances they may struggle to recover altogether and end up facing administration, especially if debts to creditors continue to rack up.

Having the right policies in place can drastically reduce the risk involved and these should also be tested on a regular basis to ensure they are up to the task.

By Phil Smith

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