More than 875,000 SMEs hit by cyber attacks in the last year

More than 875,000 British SMEs were hit by cyber attacks over the last 12 months, according to a new report examining the growing cyber threat.

A study by Zurich found that 16 per cent – or roughly one in six – of the nation’s small- and medium-sized businesses were attacked over the last year.

Firms in London were the worst affected, with 23 per cent reporting that they had suffered a breach over this period as the result of a cyber attack.

21 per cent of the affected firms said the attacks cost them more than £10,000, while 11 per cent fell victim to attacks that cost them more than £50,000.

Despite this, 49 per cent of respondents said they would spend less than £1,000 on cyber security over the coming 12 months, while 22 per cent do not know what they will spend.

This figure may increase in the near future, however, as a quarter of medium-sized businesses and 11 per cent of small businesses said they had been asked about their cyber security measures by one of their current or prospective customers.

This reflects the findings of another recent report, which said that large firms are increasingly scrutinising their SME suppliers’ cyber security.

SME Publications/ SME XPO 2024

Five per cent of the SMEs surveyed said they are embracing this trend and have gained an advantage over their competitors due to their cyber security credentials.

“While recent cyber attacks have highlighted the importance of cyber security for some of the world’s biggest companies, it’s important to remember that small- and medium-sized businesses need to protect themselves too,” said Paul Tombs, head of SME proposition at Zurich, commenting on the survey’s findings.

“The results suggest that SMEs are not yet heeding the warnings provided by large attacks on global businesses.

“While the rate of attacks on SMEs is troubling, it also shows that there is an opportunity for businesses with the correct safeguards and procedures in place to leverage this as a strength and gain an advantage.”

For more from the report, see the Zurich website.

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SME Publications/ SME XPO 2024