You’d be forgiven for thinking cyber attacks are super weapons exclusive to elections given recent headlines. However, companies of all shapes and sizes in fact feel the heat with 16 attacks per month on average. Now, new research shows how damaging cyber crime can be for SMEs.
Research conducted by YouGov and commissioned by Barclays reveals that UK SMEs on average lose £34,942 when suffering a hack attack, with an estimated combined damage of £40bn across Britain’s more than five million SMEs. An effect of two-thirds of SMEs paying out of pocket is that many of them have resorted to making redundancies to cover their losses, which Barclays estimates have led to about 50,000 job losses across Britain to date.
Indeed, of the 1,060 SMEs surveyed, 44% had been in the crosshairs of fraudsters at least once, with approximately one in four of them having fallen victim to laptop-wielding larcenists in the past. Regardless, only 54% of the victims alerted the police and a staggering 28% didn’t even tell staff when a breach occurred.
Commenting on the results Ian Rand, CEO of Barclays Business Banking, said: “The staggering cost of these crimes can stop a small business from investing in new jobs, training or equipment, in turn boosting local economies. Fraudsters are targeting hard-working entrepreneurs, in some cases impersonating suppliers and staff, intercepting emails and sending fake invoices.
“However, the good news is that the vast majority of fraud against businesses can be easily prevented. Simple steps to increase security, such as having strong passwords and increased staff awareness, can all help combat fraud.”
Indeed, it’s difficult to ignore the growing importance of cybersecurity. Given SMEs make up 99.3% of the private sector, bolstering their online defence is critical for the UK’s economy.