UK SMEs hit hardest by cybercrime

New research has revealed that millions of small businesses across the UK were the hardest hit by cybercriminal activities, resulting in a £17.4 billion bill by the end of 2018.

The study, commissioned by business internet service provider Beaming and conducted by research consultancy Opinium, found that two-thirds of small British companies with 10-49 employees were victims of cybercrimes, which is equivalent to 130,000 businesses across the country. On average, this cost firms £65,000 per employee, and a gross sum of £13.6 billion.

Similarly, 1.72 million micro companies with fewer than ten employees also suffered the wrath of hacks and online attacks, but with a lower bill of £705 million.

The Beaming survey, which polled 500 business leaders, however found that the trend was getting worse; since it began its research in 2016, the provider noted that 2018 experienced the highest rate and impact of cybercrime. In particular, whilst medium and large companies faced a cost of only £3.1 billion, SMEs were hit with a whopping £17.4 billion bill.

Managing director of Beaming, Sonia Blizzard, commented on the research, stating: “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.

“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.”

Blizzard recommended implementing firewalls and further security features as preventive measures, but warned small businesses to take immediate heed of the potential risks of cybercriminal activity, for she fears it is on an upward climb.

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