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Cyber crime and SMEs – Is your business at risk?

By Dan Teuton
29 November 2018

writes Barry Potter, partner, Haines Watts

A cyber-attack on a small to medium-sized enterprise is unlikely to receive anywhere near the level of publicity as a cyber-attack on a large household name like the Ransomware attack on the NHS or the cyber breach suffered by British Airways through SQL injection to its website, but this doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen, it does daily.

SME’s contribute £1.6 trillion to the UK economy each year, which makes up 99.3% of the UK’s private sector business. With weaker security controls than the large corporates, SME’s are an easy touch for cyber criminals and are actively being targeted.

The amount of cyber-attacks being carried out against SMEs is stunning; in 2017 alone, 92% of attacks targeted SMEs. Even more shocking, few of these companies are taking the risk of cyber-attacks seriously, with 82% believing they are too small to be targeted. The individual costs of these attacks are growing as well. A recent survey found that a single attack could cost a company as much £310,800.

In recent years, the average SME has gone from using predominately simple stand-alone IT systems to embracing more interconnected systems. From bring your own device (BYOD), off-site working to the cloud, small businesses have never been more connected to their clients and therefore more open to threats. While these technologies provide huge business benefits, their procurement and use need to be carefully managed.

At Haines Watts we spend time reviewing the internal controls of our clients’ accounting systems, as well as advising on IT security and protection against cyber crime.

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