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Cyber report shows that small businesses are key to preventing future data breaches in the UK 

A report released by Business in the Community (BITC) highlights that small businesses need to be part of the solution to prevent cyber security issues from impacting customers in the UK.

Launched to mark ‘Would You Be Ready? Week’ - which aims to raise awareness of business resilience in communities across the UK - BITC’s cyber report shows that 40% of small businesses[1] interviewed had not taken any action on cyber security in the past 12 months.

One in three small businesses admitted to not having any cyber security strategies in place at all and more than three quarters (77%) said they have no policy for controlling access to their data systems.

According to the City of London Police, the national policing lead for fraud in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, more than 2,000 cyber crimes were reported by businesses in 2018, affecting thousands of customers.

Small businesses represent 99.3% of all private businesses in the UK. They have a responsibility to their customers and the supply chains in which they operate to handle data safely and securely so that consumers are not victims of data leaks and fraudulent activity. 

Stephen Worrall, managing director at HSB Engineering Insurance, said: “We have seen an increase in small businesses being targeted by cyber-criminals in recent years.

“Security system gaps can leave small businesses vulnerable to cyber-attacks without them realising, which when exploited can result in small businesses becoming victims of a data breach and potentially causing significant disruptions to their business and onward supply chain.”

BITC, The Prince’s Responsible Business Network, is urging small businesses to assess how vulnerable they are to cybercrime this week and make improvements to their current levels of protection.

Amanda Mackenzie OBE, chief executive of BITC said: “While it's often big companies which hit the headlines as victims of digital crime, when a small business is struck by a cyber attack, decades of hard work can be erased in moments.

“The business owners suffer. The supply chains suffer. Most of all - communities suffer."

Cyber breaches or attacks can cost businesses up to £8,000 to recover from, but there are some simple steps small businesses can take to become more robust.

Clare Gardiner, National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) director of engagement, said: “Cyber security breaches can have a huge impact on businesses, and the NCSC has published a Small Business Guide to offer the best advice possible to potential victims.

“While we appreciate that cyber security might seem daunting, the NCSC is committed to helping organisations protect themselves against the majority of threats.

“BITC’s Would You Be Ready? campaign is based on our range of easy to implement advice that could save time, money and even your business’ reputation.”

Full guidance and advice for businesses has been provided in BITC’s ‘Would you be ready for a cyber attack?’ report, which is available online alongside a free test for businesses to assess their current level of protection across a range of disruptions.

Ashleigh Smith
Article by Ashleigh Smith
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