Government warning for SMEs facing cyber threats

Many small businesses in the UK are failing to guard against cyber threats and are putting themselves at unnecessary risk, the Government has warned.


Companies could be putting a third of their revenue at risk as they are falling foul of some of the common misconceptions surrounding security, a new report claims.


According to the Cyber Steetwise campaign, a quarter of small firms believe the costs of cyber security are too high while 20% are unsure where to start.


As a result these companies risk losing valuable data while their reputations and finances are also put under threat.


Given that many small firms are becoming increasingly dependent on web-based tools for their operations, a growing number could be at risk.


Measures such as using strong passwords, updating software and deleting suspicious emails can help to mitigate cyber threat, but many companies are slow to implement such practices.


Businesses can always do more to limit the risks they face and that includes researching some of the simpler ways of protecting themselves.


Research is also vital to ensuring that a firm knows how to react if it is targeted as taking the right initial steps can prevent more negative long-term impacts.


How online security is viewed is seen as a major issue by the Government and the campaign aims to change how people perceive issues surrounding online safety.


Some of the common misconceptions identified the idea that only companies taking payments online are at risk and that small companies won’t be targeted due to their size.


Both incidences are not the case and failing to have adequate protection can place firms under serious financial strain.


A third of businesses in 2014 suffered some form of cyber attack, costing between £65,000 and £115,000 on average to put right.


Government figures also suggest that firms can be put out of action as a result and this impacts severely on revenues.


Taking simple security measures could make the task trickier for hackers while reducing the likelihood of company administration should the financial impacts be too difficult to handle.


The Government encourages firms to research technology thoroughly before implementing it while ensuring that current systems are run to a safe standard.


By Phil Smith


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