Cyber attacks hit record highs

A bad year for security as 87% of SMEs experience data breaches

Cyber attacks hit record highs

We’re all aware of the increasing need for digital security. Despite this, all too often it can be the business equivalent of periodic health checks – you know you should get things looked at but sometimes other priorities get in the way. This seems to be an increasing trend at the moment, as information released today by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) reveals that 87% of small businesses have experienced a data breach over the last year.

When almost nine in every ten small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are feeling the ramifications of data breaches, it can’t help but give you pause. And not only does the 2013 Information Security Breaches Survey reveal that breaches of this nature have increased by more than 10% on the preceding year but it also demonstrates that these breaches costed small businesses up to 6% of their turnover – despite the fact that the cost of protecting themselves would amount to far less.

On average, the cost for a significant breach in a small organisation was between £35,000 and £65,000. And the nature of these attacks is changing. Contrary to popular belief, few of these were as a result of human error or malicious individuals working within the businesses involved – nearly two-thirds were carried out through cyber attacks by outsiders, up from two-fifths the previous year. A significant 12% of the most severe breaches were in part caused by senior management failing to sufficiently prioritise security within their organisations.

Some rather worrying figures. Fortunately, there is help at hand. The Technology Strategy Board has recently extended its Innovation Vouchers scheme to enable SMEs to bid for up to £5,000 from a £500,000 fund to ramp up their cyber security by bringing external help. And additional guidance has been today released by BIS to help small business prioritise digital security and mitigate the risk of digital attacks.

It’s definitely worth taking security seriously. And given that the Government Communication Headquarters (GCHQ) have estimated that 80% of attacks can be prevented by best practice, seeking whatever help you can to ratchet up your defences may not be too bad an idea. 

Josh Russell
Josh Russell

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