SMEs turn to cyber security as attacks increase

Small businesses are increasingly looking to improve their cyber security measures, as the number of breaches continues to rise.

Research from Beaming found that cyber security breaches cost UK businesses more than £29 billion in 2016, although larger firms were more likely to be affected.

More than half of UK businesses were hit by cybercrime in some way in 2016, with phishing and viruses the most common forms of attack – both impacted on 23% of businesses surveyed.

Data breaches and hacks accounted for 18% of attacks as well, with all forms resulting in significant financial losses for businesses.

Nearly 1.3 million British businesses fell victim to phishing attacks in 2016, which resulted in losses just shy of £6 billion.

Nearly £5 billion in losses came as a result of computer viruses that influenced the operations of 1.28 million businesses while nearly 573,000 cases of social engineering caused losses of £5.35 billion.

Ransomware was a particularly hard-hitting cybercrime, as close to 389,000 business victims lost more than 7.35 billion between them.

More than a million businesses were victims of data breaches and hacking attempts; although the losses – of around £0.9 billion – from this were significant, they were not as severe as from other forms of cybercrime.

Larger businesses were more likely to fall victim to cybercrimes – while 31% of firms with 10 employees were victims in 2016, that number jumped to 71% for those employing 250 people or more.

More than half a million smaller firms have turned to cyber security measures in the last year, undoubtedly aware of the potential harm that could be caused by cyberattacks.

Although small businesses were attacked less frequently in 2016, the harm caused to them can be disproportionately higher.

Losses maybe difficult to overcome and a business could be plunged towards insolvency if they are unable to recover.

Any businesses that suffers a reversal in fortunes should seek assistance with refinancing in order to overcome, or at least limit, the problems being faced.

By Phil Smith

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