Small businesses ‘losing millions’ to fraud and security breaches

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Another study has highlighted the threat of cyber crime to small businesses.

Small companies could be held back from expanding and making profits because they are afraid of the growing risk of cyber attacks and security breaches, new research has suggested.

A study carried out by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) and the government’s Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) found that 41 per cent of FSB members have fallen victim to cyber crime in the past 12 months.

However, this could be a conservative estimate because it only involves organisation members; a previous poll by the BIS suggested that 87 per cent of small companies have suffered a security breach in the past year.

It is estimated that a collective £785 million is being lost by smaller firms every year as they fail to keep their online systems safe, amounting to around £4,000 each.

Infection by viruses is the most common threat, as it had affected 20 per cent of respondents to the poll, but fraud by customers was reported by 13 per cent.

Five per cent reported security breaches, which could include incidents where people have accessed sensitive information that was not adequately protected.

The FSB fears that the implications of these attacks could be more widespread than just financial and data loss, as some firms could avoid having an online presence altogether for fear of an incident, which will put them at a disadvantage in today’s fast-paced world.

However, although 60 per cent of those questioned said they regularly update anti-virus software, 20 per cent have not taken any steps to ensure data protection.

FSB national policy chairman Mike Cherry said: "Cyber crime poses a real and growing threat for small firms and it is not something that should be ignored."

The organisation has urged small firms to train staff to protect data and to implement procedures for keeping email, internet and mobile devices safe.

However, it could be a good idea for them to also use third party services such as legal document storage by Dajon Data Management, as this means no sensitive data will be held where prying eyes can see it.

Get in touch with us today if your business needs a bespoke solution to security threats. 

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