SMEs ‘unprepared’ for potentially costly cyber-attacks, says research


Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) across the UK are unprepared for potentially costly cyber-attacks, despite the fact that half of firms admit to being hit by a data breach at least once in the past year.

Researchers from Juniper Research quizzed UK SMEs about their cyber security habits, and found that just over a quarter assumed that they were safe from potential attacks because they are ‘small’ and do not consider themselves ‘of interest to criminals’ – despite the fact that 50 per cent said they had been hit by cyber-attacks in 2015.

The UK Government has warned that the average cyber-attack will cost a business anywhere between £75,000 and £311,000 – yet firms are continually failing to take cyber-security seriously, according to reports.

Juniper’s data revealed that 14 per cent of SMEs openly feel that they ‘are not doing enough’ to ward off attackers, whereas a separate study carried out by Barclaycard in July found that just one in five SMEs consider cyber security a ‘top business priority’.

Only a quarter told Juniper that they had a dedicated security executive in their company, and only 31 per cent said that they regularly monitored their emails for phishing scams.

Junpier Research are now calling upon SMEs to up their game, after the National Audit Office (NAO) suggested that cyber-attacks targeting SMEs were likely to become more common under Making Tax Digital (MTD), HMRC’s slow-moving shift to an all-digital tax system for businesses.