Small businesses in the UK bore the brunt of £17 billion worth of cyber-attacks in 2018, according to new research by Internet Service Provider, Beaming. Is your business protected?
Two thirds of SMEs are victims of cyber crime
Beaming’s research, conducted by Opinium, reveals that nearly two thirds of UK companies employing 10 – 49 people (the equivalent of 130,000 businesses nationwide) fell victim to some type of cyber crime in 2018.
The average cost of cyber-attacks for small businesses was £65,000. This includes the expense of damaged assets, along with financial penalties and business downtime. The total bill of cyber crime across all UK small businesses in 2018 is a staggering £13.6 billion.
Malicious phishing emails claimed the greatest number of victims (25% of businesses), whilst ransomware attacks were the most financially damaging. They’re estimated to cost victims £21,000 each, on average.
Worryingly, the figures are on the rise. 63% of small businesses reported being a victim of cybercrime in 2018, up substantially from 47% of small businesses in 2017 and 55% in 2016.
The proportion of small business victims exceeded that of medium sized organisations (61%) for the first time in 2018.
Sonia Blizzard, managing director of Beaming, said:
“Our research shows that cyber criminals don’t care how big your business is, everyone is a potential victim and the cost of an attack can be devastating.
“Larger businesses fall victim at the greatest rate because they have more people and more potential sources of vulnerability. However, they also tend to have multiple layers of protection in place to limit the spread of an attack and are able to recover more quickly after one.”
How can your small business stay more secure?
The Government’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) offers Cyber Essentials Certification: an improvement, self-assessment and accredited certification tool that ensures you have everything in place to keep your digital systems secure.
They also stress 5 vital cyber security measures you must put in place:
- Use a firewall to secure your Internet connection
- Choose the most secure settings and passwords for your devices and software
- Control who has access to your data and services
- Protect yourself from viruses and other malware
- Keep your devices and software up to date
Don’t ignore cyber security because you feel you don’t know enough about it and don’t think anything will happen to your business. It could prove to be a very expensive mistake that damages your firm’s reputation. There’s a wealth of easy to understand information on the NCSC Cyber Essentials website to help you.