Cyber Crime remains a growing problem for UK businesses. Although most of the media attention is focused on attacks against household-name companies, cyber crime in the UK affects businesses of all sizes. SME businesses can’t afford to think that they won’t be a target.
In recent months, telecoms operator Talk Talk announced that its recent security breach could cost them up to £35m and global hotel chain Hyatt was forced to disclose a list of hotels affected by a malware attack which was used to collect credit card data. Only time will tell whether or not reputational damage will push the costs of these breaches even higher through customer defections.
Most SME businesses believe they will be safe from cyber crime because they are not well-known and have little for cyber criminals to take from them. However, if you hold any data on customers there will be at least an element of risk. What’s more, many cyber criminals prefer to target smaller businesses anyway because their defences are easier to infiltrate. A recent report by PriceWaterhouse Coopers suggests that smaller companies have actually reduced their spend on cyber defences, while larger corporate organisations have increased theirs.
The report contains a number of statistics that should give small businesses cause to take Cyber Crime very seriously:
- 74% of Small Businesses have suffered a breach (up from 60% last year)
- 31% of Small Businesses suffered a breach involving a member of staff (up from 22% last year)
- Even for Small Businesses, the costs of a Cyber Security breach could be as high as £311,000
- 14% of businesses have never briefed their board on the issue of Cyber Crime and the steps they have taken to prevent it
- Only 32% of respondents are using the Government 10 Steps to Cyber Security guidance
- 28% of the worst security breaches were attributed to senior management giving insufficient priority to Cyber Security (up from 7% last year)
- Only 7% of Small Businesses expect information security spend to increase in the next year
If your business hasn’t fully addressed the issue of Cyber Crime and hasn’t yet briefed its board and senior management on the subject, there are some simple steps you can take:
- Review the 10 Steps guide from the Government
- If you trade online, or would like to demonstrate to customers that you take Cyber Security seriously, consider applying for Cyber Essentials accreditation
- Download our Free Guide to Cyber Crime which contains simple free advice and information which could help you to brief your board
- If you outsource your IT operations, speak to your provider about how best to protect yourself.
Cyber Crime is on the increase and should be taken seriously, however big or small your business may be. If the worst should happen, it could impact upon your income directly, and also indirectly through customer defections and damage to your credibility. However, even if you’ve done nothing to address Cyber Security, there is plenty of free help available, and you will probably find that there are quick, simple steps you can take to leave your business less vulnerable.