Cyber attack could close more than half of SMBs

More than half of small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) say a data breach or cyber security incident would put their business at risk of closure.

A Censuswide survey of 501 IT decisions-makers, commissioned by IT security firm Webroot, also found that more than three quarters of SMBs (78 per cent) believe that their business could be jeopardised by a lack of cyber security knowledge on the part of their employees.

The impact of a cyber attack or data breach could also hit profits, according to 61 per cent of respondents, while 74 per cent said that stress amongst workers could increase the risk of this type of incident. The survey suggested that stress in the sector was at its highest levels since the 2008 financial crisis.

The report found that investment in cyber security amongst SMBs is on the up though, with over half (54 per cent) within the financial sector devoting between six and 20 per cent more to cyber security spend, compared to other industries. However, this investment may not be enough to make up for human error, which can be exacerbated in high-pressure environments, Webroot suggested.

While the survey highlighted the challenges for SMBs in ensuring their workforce is prepared for cyber security incidents, 65 per cent said that their small size enabled them to react quicker and more effectively to industry or political change, meaning this agility could be transformed into advantage.

The report stated: “Attacks on financial services SMBs can disrupt an organisation to the point of bankruptcy - to help combat this, both prevention and protection must be put in place - online and in the form of employee training to increase awareness of attacks such as phishing.

“Organisations must also put processes in place to mitigate risky employee behaviour at times of high stress,” it added. “This approach reduces the risk of a successful cyberattack, ultimately protecting financial organisations and their customers’ valuable assets.”

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