Why is cyber security so important for SMEs?

In association with

Alarmingly, Allianz recently identified virtual crime as the biggest risk to SMEs in 2017. That means that it ranks above skills gaps, legal issues and a shortfall in business lending for the issues facing small and medium firms.

By Andrew Stellakis, managing director, Q2Q.And this is worsened by the fact that over 74 per cent of small companies believe they are cyber-secure.

A report from the Federation of Small Businesses emphasises the dangers of such complacency, revealing that small businesses are attacked seven million times a year, costing the UK economy £5bn per annum.

So, if the idea of having sensitive company information stolen – passwords and bank details to name just two – isn’t enough to prompt a firm to protect themselves against cyber breaches, then the risk of exposing clients’ data should.

The Data Protection Act shields customers from such risks, and gives them the right to claim financial losses as a result of their information being stolen. It may also cause damaged client relationships, or even a PR disaster. Think of Talk Talk, Yahoo, or Wonga, for just three examples.

There are five main actions that SMEs can take to protect their data and systems. First and foremost, it’s important to identify which information is sensitive and set up strong passwords.

Secondly, providing education and training to staff about tips for best practice will significantly help. After all, utilising human error is a key cyber criminal strategy.

Next, choose a safe cloud storage provider that offers firewalling, encryption and ransomware threat prevention.

Then, invest in effective anti-malware and anti-virus software. As always, prevention is better than cure and a great system will help to stop an attack in its tracks. Finally, appoint the help of an experienced and professional IT firm that will prevent and protect your business from cyber attacks.

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