Survey finds small businesses are neglecting cyber security

A new survey of small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) has found that many are neglecting to prioritise cyber security, despite widespread fears of online crime.

Barclaycard quizzed over 250 SMEs to gauge their preparedness for a digital attack and found that just 20 per cent ranked cybercrime as a top priority – despite government estimates that the average attack costs firms between £75 and £311k through lost sales, disruption and compensation pay outs.

The results also contradict separate findings that 48 per cent of respondents had been victim of at least one cyber attack in the past year, with ten per cent having fallen victim to four attacks or more and 54 per cent fearful of an attack.

Instead of taking steps to mitigate such risks however 16 per cent of firms confessed to only reviewing security in the aftermath of 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.”

The survey also showed that just 13 per cent of SMEs were confident that their own knowledge of cyber security was sufficient to combat the threat posed, illustrating the need for a greater focus on education and skills.

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