Britain’s SMEs were stung by a £17.4bn cybercrime bill in 2018

A new survey has revealed cybercrime took its toll on the UK’s SMEs, with micro businesses the most susceptible to hack attacks

Britain’s SMEs were stung by a £17.4bn cybercrime bill in 2018

Business cybercrime is quite the societal norm at this point, with hacking, phishing and data breaches affecting millions of UK companies and causing billions in damage each year. And new research from Beaming, the internet service provider, has revealed that while the smallest businesses have fewer employees – and revenues – the amount of those under fire is substantial.

Beaming’s annual cybersecurity survey of 500 business leaders, conducted by research consultancy Opinium, found that almost two-thirds of small UK companies with between ten and 49 employees were the victims of cybercrime last year. This is the equivalent of 130,000 businesses nationwide and a cost of £13.6bn. Comparatively, a staggering 1.72 million micro businesses with under ten workers were victims of the online attacks, though the cost was far lower at £705m.

Adding the 2018 woes of micro businesses and small businesses to those of medium-sized companies with between 50 and 249 members of staff, which had 21,000 victims at a cost of £3.1bn, the cost of cybercrime damages to SMEs hit £17.4bn. As it stands, this is the highest rate at which smaller businesses have been hit with cybercrime since Beaming surveys began in 2016, which shows the trend is only getting worse.

Looking at the UK overall, including larger companies with more than 250 employees, 33% of UK businesses were victims of cybercrime in 2018 – that’s 1.88 million firms in total, according to Beaming. In terms of the threats themselves, phishing emails were the most common crime as they affected 25% of companies but ransomware did the most damage in terms of financials at an average cost of £21,000 for each victim.Commenting on the report, Sonia Blizzard, managing director of Beaming, said: “Small businesses are trusting more data to the cloud and accessing it from lots of locations. This provides greater flexibility and efficiencies but also adds to the importance of ensuring data is held and transported securely.” She pointed to security steps like firewalls as preventative measures.

With tech ever advancing, cyber criminals will likely reach new lengths in terms of passing businesses security. Smaller firms must take heed while they build their company and make learning about potential risks of cybercrime a priority.  

Louisa Cook
Louisa Cook

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