Procurement · 16 May 2017

Over 90 per cent of business owners overlook these daily cyber protection measures

Cyber protection measures
As many as 19,000 small businesses are targeted by hackers every day

Just eight per cent of UK business owners undertake daily cyber protection measures, according to new research, as founders fail to keep up to date with the latest threats.

A study of internal cyber protection measures within companies, by insurance broker Lockton, revealed a significant gap in perception among owners over their hacking defences.

Some 60 per cent of owners considered their businesses well-protected against a cyber attack, but the findings suggested a considerably different reality.

A third admitted to only checking for hacking activity every month, while a quarter monitored attacks every three months.

Insufficient training was also a problem within companies. Over a quarter of owners failed to communicate any cyber protection measures to staff.

The failure to educate employees is a significant worry for owners. The most common security breaches – fraudulent emails, spyware and ransomware – have been heavily linked to human errors.

“UK companies are clearly underestimating their risk by thinking they are well prepared for a cyber security breach,” said Peter Erceg, senior vice president of Global Cyber & Technology.

Erceg added the current crisis, kickstarted by a widespread attack on the NHS, revealed the “huge vulnerability” of small businesses to the growing threat of hackers, and exposed the failings of owners to keep pace with “rapid evolution” of cyber attacks.

Cyber protection measures to protect your firm from an attack

Previous figures from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) revealed a mammoth seven million cyber attacks on small firms every year – 19,000 every day.

Each hacking incident costs the average small business owner almost £3,000 and over two days of trading, and the FSB has now urged members to take action to protect their company.

“We are raising the alarm with the UK’s 5.5 million-strong small business community,” said Dave Stallon, FSB commercial director.

“It is vital that small businesses and the self-employed prioritise this, and that they do it today. These businesses have limited resources, time and expertise to deal with the current and growing cyber crime threat but there is specific assistance available. They should follow our guidance, and do it right now,” Stallon added.

The organisation advised small business owners to make use of its cyber attack advice line offered to FSB members.

Mike Cherry, FSB chairman, echoed the warnings of imminent further attacks on businesses given by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC).

Cherry said: “We are urging all small businesses to take steps to reduce the risk of an attack. Businesses should immediately check for updates to their operating systems and anti-malware software and download them where needed.

“We advise small firms to make sure their data is backed up – if the worst happens, data cannot then be held to ransom.”

Cherry added the NCSC twitter feed would contain up to date guidance for small business owners.

For further cyber protection measures to save your business from hackers, find out how to protect your business from cyber fraud.

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Praseeda Nair is the editorial director of Business Advice, and its sister publication for growing businesses, Real Business. She's an impassioned advocate for women in leadership, and likes to profile business owners, advisors and experts in the field of entrepreneurship and management.

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