Small UK business owners have placed suppliers on alert over the cyber security threat.
New research from telecoms group Beaming found that 31% of firms would terminate their supplier contracts in the event of a breach.
One in five of firms said they would take legal action to recover any financial losses incurred as a result of a supplier’s negligence with a similar number using the incident to negotiate a further discount on rates. Only 3% of businesses said they would take no action.
“We’ve seen for some time that hackers will seek to infiltrate one organisation as a stepping stone to then attack others,” said Sonia Blizzard, managing director of Beaming.
“This research clearly shows that business leaders see cyber security as a shared responsibility.”
“Businesses that neglect to take the steps necessary to protect themselves and their partners could find that a single breach could irreparably damage their hard-earned reputations and relationships.”
The survey also revealed that victims of cyber crime could find it more difficult to attract new customers. More than a third of the leaders questioned said they wouldn’t work with a supplier they thought would make them more vulnerable to cyber-crime, while a quarter said they would avoid using a company that had been publicly associated with a major cyber security breach.
Another quarter said they wouldn’t work with companies that didn’t have a documented cyber security policy in place, while one in five would avoid potential suppliers without cyber security insurance.
Blizzard added: “For businesses, the consideration of risk must extend beyond their own boundaries to incorporate customers, partners and other organisations they come into contact with.
“Rather than simply guarding what’s ours, we need a cyber security culture that means we all look out for those we do business with too. Just like herd immunity, if enough businesses are well secured, the ability for denial-of-service attacks, viruses and other attacks to spread will be greatly diminished.”
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