Businesses underestimating threat cybercrime poses to profitability, cashflow and reputation, according to experts Read

Small and medium-sized businesses are underestimating the threat cybercrime poses to their profitability, cashflow and reputation, according to experts.

Ed Vaizey, Minister for culture and the digital economy, said at an event last week to help firms combat cybercrime: ‘Small businesses are driving economic growth in the UK but remain particularly vulnerable to cyber-security breaches that can result in hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of damage.’

Recent research by PwC on behalf of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, has found that 60 per cent of small businesses have suffered a malicious breach in the past year – and half of them had a serious incident.

The worst breaches disrupted operations for small businesses for an average of seven to ten days.

The most common problems faced by businesses include staff exposing IT systems to malware by plugging in external devices and USB sticks, opening infected emails or using unsafe websites with malicious code. Poor device passwords and out-of-date software also leave firms vulnerable.
Ashwin Mistry, founder of Brokerbility, said: ‘It’s almost criminal if insurance firms don’t offer cyber- liability to every company they insure, because in ten years’ time, at some point, you’re all going to get hit. It’s a matter of time.

‘We sit down with commercial clients and say “Right, you’ve done your basic insurances, I need to talk to you about directors’ and officers’ liability and cyber-liability. Now let me explain what this means, and you’ve got to listen, because if you have a database that has got client information, bank details, at some point somebody will have a go”.’

‘We’ve all got data. How much is in a phone? This affects anybody who has got customer data. Those who haven’t got strong enough firewalls. Those who have bank account details. The regular florist. Think about a local pizza company. At some point, some 16-year-old will just fancy a bit of pocket money and have a go.

‘It won’t be the organised criminal, it will be somebody who says “Oh, OK, I know what I can do with this”.’
He said businesses are responding ‘very badly’, adding: ‘It’s another cost, isn’t it? They’re saying “leave me alone, I’m trading, I don’t need all this”.’

But Emma Philpott, the Government’s cyber security clusters champion, said there are inexpensive courses of action for small firms. She said: ‘Many businesses simply don’t realise they are at risk and assume cybercriminals are only targeting banks or large online retailers.

‘The reality is that all businesses are interesting to cybercriminals and if you’re online in any way, you are a target. Cyber Streetwise is a great place to get quick, bite-size, non-techy advice on keeping the cyber criminals at bay.’

John Allan, National Chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, said: ‘Cybercrime poses a real and growing threat for small firms and it isn’t something that should be ignored. Many small businesses will be taking steps to protect themselves but many others have not recognised the increasing threat and have neither adopted technologies nor strategies to defend against cybercrime.

‘For those that don’t, the cost of cybercrime can be a barrier for growth and in the worst cases, can put a firm out of business.
‘While we welcome action from the Government and the wider public sector, there are clear actions that businesses can take to educate and help themselves to counteract cybercrime.’

Sourse: DailyMail on Facebook

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