By Dan Baker, Content Writer, SecureTeam
The amount of cyber attacks in the UK and across the world continues to grow each year and small businesses are increasingly the targets of these attacks. In fact, UK small businesses are being targeted by an estimated 65,000 cyber attacks every day. Fortunately, the majority of these attacks fail. However, due to the volume of attacks, several cybercriminals achieve their aims and small business in the UK is successfully hacked every 19 seconds.
The Growing Threat of Cybercrime
Many small business owners don’t realize or believe that they are at risk of cybercrime and mistakenly believe that hackers only target big companies. Unfortunately, the tools available to cybercriminals have expanded and now even unsophisticated hackers have access to complex tools that have been created by more advanced cybercriminals, allowing them to target smaller businesses with these powerful hacking tools.
With 43% of cyber attacks in the UK targeting small businesses, it has never been more vital for small business owners to prepare for the inevitable breach. Nearly 2/3rds of UK businesses that employ between 10 and 49 people, estimated at around 130,000 companies nationwide, were the victim of some form of cybercrime in 2018.
Where You Are Most Vulnerable
The most common form of cyberattacks is phishing attacks through fraudulent emails or by being directed to fraudulent websites. 49% of cyber attacks that target small businesses are fraudulent emails and 72% of businesses have been affected by fraudulent emails.
The main defense against this form of cyberattack is strong staff training in regard to cybersecurity. Phishing attacks are so successful because only 25% of small businesses give their staff formal cybersecurity training, leaving the rest vulnerable to social engineering attacks.
Small businesses that are based in the North West, the South East, and the West Midlands are more likely to suffer from cyber attacks than the rest of the country. 25%, 23% and 21% of small businesses based in these areas reported cyberattacks respectively. However, by understanding the risk of cybercrime and the common nature of cyber-attacks you will be in a much stronger position to protect your business.
Covering the Risk of Cyber Attacks
Many small business owners mistakenly believe that they are not at risk of cyber-attacks and therefore make little to no effort to prepare for one. Only 39% of small businesses in the UK have formal policies covering cyberattacks and only 14% have formal incident management processes in the event of an attack. By not having a clear strategy in place to manage the impact of a cyberattack, small businesses significantly hamper their ability to detect and prevent any breaches.
One out of three small businesses has admitted to not installing any security software over the past two years. 40% of small businesses also do not regularly update their cybersecurity software or back up their data and IT systems.
In addition, 66% of businesses that are the victim of cyber attacks fail to make any changes in their policies or systems that would prevent further breaches. In fact, over half (56%) of small businesses that have suffered a cybersecurity breach proceed to be the victims of further attacks.
The Rising Cost of Cyber Attacks
The average cost of cyber attacks on UK small businesses continues to rise each year. In fact, the total cost of cyber attacks has more than doubled since 2017 with the average attack now costing businesses £6,160.
The direct costs to small businesses include ransoms paid or hardware that has to be replaced, however, this is just the beginning. Cyber attacks can cause further damage through loss of business thanks to down periods for recovery time or loss of trust from the damage done to your reputation.
After suffering a cyber attack many small businesses lose many of their customers and face difficulty attracting future customers and some fail to recover from the impact of cybercrime.
A Relentless Threat
Cybercriminals pose a relentless threat to small businesses, a threat that is often not taken seriously. However, it is only by understanding the threat that is posed by cyber-attacks that you can adequately protect yourself from them. The chances of a business falling victim to a successful cyberattack continue to increase dramatically and business owners should make efforts to strengthen their system security.
If you are concerned that your business might be at risk of a cyber-attack or think that it may have already been targeted by one then contact a cybersecurity specialist for advice on how to safeguard your business from cybercrime or how to best manage an incident.
About the Author
Dan Baker is a Content Writer that works with SecureTeam, a cybersecurity consultant that provides a range of cybersecurity solutions to small and medium businesses across the UK. Dan can be reached online at firstname.lastname@example.org or at our company website https://secureteam.co.uk/