UK small businesses hit hard by cyber-attacks
The UK’s small and medium sized businesses are not taking sufficient action to protect themselves from a rising number of cyber-attacks, new research claims.
Despite one in five firms reporting that a security breach had cost them more than £10,000, around half of companies have not invested heavily in security.
One in ten firms has even reported that data breaches cost more than £50,000, according to data from Zurich and collated by YouGov, with more than 875,000 SMEs across the UK affected.
The insurance firm has estimated that around one in six firms suffered an attack in the last year, with those in London hit hardest.
Of 1,000 SMEs quizzed as part of the study, 49% reported that they plan to spend £1,000 or less on cyber-security in the coming year, while 22% admitted they did not know what their outlay on security would be.
Despite this, a quarter of firms said that prospective clients or existing customers had asked about what security they have in place.
Such high rates of cyber-attack should be a cause for concern among small businesses, as they could lose out financially through lost sales and reputational damage should they fall foul of an attack.
Businesses with adequate safeguards in place are in a position to take advantage when attacks do suffer, as they can continue to do business while others face the consequences.
A study from cyber security firm CGI, done in conjunction with Oxford Economics, earlier this year found that public companies see a permanent drop in their share price of around 1.8% when they are subjected to a severe cyber-breach.
Meanwhile another report from Lloyds of London has suggested that another global cyber-attack – similar to WannaCry in May – could result in average economic losses of £41 billion.
For smaller businesses with tight margins or a lack of available finance, the losses that follow a breach could be catastrophic, potentially pushing a firm towards insolvency.
In such a situation it’s important to assess all of the available options and to seek corporate advisory services where necessary on the best way to proceed.
By Phil Smith