ALMOST a quarter of small and medium-sized businesses in the UK have suffered an online security breach in the last 12 months, reveals a recent survey.
65% of SME owners polled in the Close Brothers Business Barometer, a quarterly poll of SME owners and senior management that gauges sentiment on a number of issues, described themselves as being very concerned about the impact this type of crime could have on their business.
Mike Randall, CEO of Close Brothers Asset Finance said: "Cyber crime, including data corruption, hacking and virus infections, can prove to be a major barrier to growth for small firms. In fact, the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills estimates that this kind of attack costs the targeted company an average of £35,000 to £65,000.
"Clearly, this money could be much better spent investing in people, processes and equipment for growth. There could also be a wider impact on the economy, as smaller firms may decide against embracing new technology and trading online due to fears about cyber security," he added.
While 57% of SMEs surveyed said that protection against online crime was a high priority and that they have invested in this area, a fifth admitted that although they believe it to be an important issue, they haven't yet looked into it.
Mike Randall said: "It's imperative that businesses in the SME sector review any potential vulnerabilities and take steps to address them.
"No business would leave their office unlocked all night, and they need to take online security just as seriously. Smaller businesses shouldn’t allow themselves to become easy targets thanks to lacklustre prevention policies."