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Small businesses failing to protect themselves from growing threat of cybercrime

14 Jun 2016 04:00

  • Half of small businesses hit by cybercrime in the last year, with 10 per cent suffering repeated attacks
  • Over half are concerned that they are at risk of an attack in future, but just one in five see tackling cybersecurity as a priority 
  • Just one in six are confident that they have adequate measures in place to prevent cybercrime

Small businesses are at risk from cybercrime by not putting adequate protection measures in place, new research from Barclaycard has found.

The survey of 250 small businesses reveals that just one in five (20 per cent)* see cyber security as a top business priority, whilst one in ten (10 per cent) have never invested in improving the security of their website. This is despite the impact of a cyberattack costing UK small businesses on average between £75,000 and £311,000** in lost sales, business disruption, recovery of assets, fines and compensation.

As a result of not taking measures to protect themselves, businesses are leaving themselves open to potential threats. Almost half (48 per cent) have been hit by at least one cyber-attack in the past year, with one in ten (10 per cent) experiencing more than four attacks. Almost one in five (16 per cent) admit that they were only prompted to review their cybersecurity when they were hit by an attack.

The research found the majority (54 per cent) of SMEs are concerned that could be at risk from an attack, but many lack the knowledge and expertise to know how to better protect their business online. Only one in eight (13 per cent) claim to be confident that they understand enough about cybercrime to protect their business, and just one in six (15 per cent) are very confident that they have adequate measures in place.

Despite their lack of expertise in how to mitigate against cybercrime, more than four in ten (44 per cent) of SMEs acknowledge that the responsibility for protecting their company online lies in their own hands. However, support from third parties is also key. A quarter (23 per cent) admit they lean on their website host and see it as their responsibility to provide support and more than one in ten (12 per cent) think it is the responsibility of their payment provider to protect businesses from an attack.

Paul Clarke, Product Director at Barclaycard, said: 

“Businesses of all sizes face a constant and growing threat from cybercrime. As our research shows, many small businesses are failing take the necessary precautions, either because they don’t know how to protect themselves or, more worryingly, because they don’t think they need to. At Barclaycard we work with our customers to ensure they are aware of the growing threats they face and understand how they can protect themselves from cyber threats.

“Cybersecurity is not a one-off investment that can then be forgotten about, especially as criminals are becoming increasingly sophisticated in the way they target businesses. For fifty years we’ve been working in partnership with customers to ensure they are not only putting the right measures in place from the outset, but are also continuously reviewing their policies to keep up with the latest industry developments.”

For more information on how you can keep your business safe online visit: https://www.barclaycard.co.uk/business/accepting-payments/payment-security

*According to a Barclaycard survey of 252 of its customers between 26 and 29 April 2016.
**According to HM Government’s 2015 Information Security Breaches Survey: http://www.pwc.co.uk/assets/pdf/2015-isbs-executive-summary-digital.pdf