The last few years have been particularly difficult for small and medium sized companies who – like the global economy – have had had to fight their way back from the worst economic recession of a generation.
In order to survive, businesses have had to take an extremely critical view of themselves, streamlining processes and minimising costs to reduce overheads and maximise profits to stay afloat.
Given all this effort and hard work they have put in just to survive, it’s shocking to see they’re risking it all by failing to take cybercrime seriously. There is a belief among many small to medium sized companies that they’re not high priority enough to be a target and so it doesn’t concern them.
However, the reality could not be more different. In fact our lab experts find over 30,000 new infected websites distributing malware every day – with around 80% being legitimate small business websites that have been hacked.
These numbers are pretty startling, but what’s worse is that for the sake of just a few simple steps, the infection rate could have been dramatically reduced, as was revealed by the government’s recently launched National Cyber Security initiative ‘Cyber Streetwise’.
Aimed at changing attitudes to online security, the initiative found that over half of all UK SMEs are leaving themselves and their customers vulnerable to cyber attacks because they are failing to get the cyber security basics right.
When broken down, the research, which questioned UK SMEs about their online security habits, revealed that a surprisingly low number of companies: regularly monitor their IT systems for breaches (46 per cent); regularly use complex access passwords (58 per cent); restrict access to IT networks (48 per cent) or control the use of USB storage devices (46 per cent).
Given that SMEs make up the vast majority of UK companies (99.9 per cent), this is extremely worrying and even more imperative that businesses take adequate measures to protect themselves online.
Many have started to take responsibility for their own security by getting the basics right, which can be as simple as installing antivirus, regularly updating and patching software or using passwords more complex than ‘Password 1’ or ‘0123456’ to protect their data.
However, there are still many who have not. And when we consider the precarious financial situations many businesses found themselves in during the global economic crisis of just a few years ago, by continuing to ignore the cyber security warnings and failing to act, they might find themselves in a similarly precarious position in the not too distant future.
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