Technology / Small businesses continue to underestimate cyber threat, report shows

Small businesses continue to underestimate cyber threat, report shows

SMEs continue to underestimate the cyber threat to their businesses despite continued warnings about the risks, according to a report.

Computer cyber crime

Research by PGI Cyber shows that 93 per cent of small firms do not consider how a cyber attack could impact upon their reputations.

Meanwhile, less than a third of SMEs yet to be hit by a breach said the potential harm caused by an attack is an “important” consideration.

More than half of customers surveyed said they would stop using a business that suffered a breach, but only 19 per cent of small businesses said they would be immediately concerned about competitors gaining an advantage if they were breached.

But it is not only customers that SMEs have to worry about – they can also expose, and lose, big-name clients if they do not keep their own systems secure.

In the run-up to The European Information Security Summit 2016Business Reporter spoke to Patrick Nuttall, head of the London Digital Security Centre, who explained why small businesses are on cyber criminals’ hit lists.

“Basically, small businesses are starting to be seen as soft targets, while many larger businesses are becoming more secure and harder to break into,” he said.

For this reason, he said, hackers are targeting small firms to get at bigger companies.

For example, it may make more sense for criminals to hack a small design firm to gain access to a major business’s report, rather than attacking that company itself.

He also highlighted the potential risk to the future of small businesses themselves.

“From the perspective of the small business, security is especially important when you are looking at the kind of losses people are incurring,” Nuttall said.

“In the US, a study by the National Cyber Security Alliance found that 60 per cent of small firms go out of business within six months of a data breach.”

For more information on the research, see the PGI Cyber website.

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