The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) in the UK published a report recently according to which the damages of cyber crime to small firms and businesses are so immense that they reach up to £800 million a year (that’s well over a billion U.S dollars!).
This is an incomprehensible figure, especially when you stop to consider all the security measures we’ve all gotten used to having by default: anti-virus, firewall, password changing etc.
If you are an average person, chances are you make sure your computer is safe – at least with the basic measures. However, if you run a small business you’re likely to have more than one computer (home and office computers or a desktop and a laptop), computers for your employees, possibly a website and most likely a database of customers and transactions. Whether you own a corner shop on the high street, a stall in the farmer’s market or have your own small consulting firm – you’ll need to manage and store huge amounts of information on yourself, your employees, your clients and your business.
Some small businesses employ an in-house or an outsourced computer technician to take care of all their IT needs but even then, as it turns out, small businesses are most susceptible to cyber-attacks and hacking.
The FSB report shows that 41% of their members have been a victim of cyber crime in the past 12 months, putting the average cost at around £4,000 per business.
What’s even scarier is that 3 in 10 businesses have been a victim of fraud, typically by a customer or client (13%) or through ‘card not present’ fraud (10%). That’s worrying as you can’t really trust your clients anymore it appears. In addition to the loss of money there is also loss of trust and faith in one another- something that small businesses, rather than large ones, depend on like oxygen. Without trust there would be no communication and no exchange of funds.
One of the most apparent consequences of this situation is that small companies refuse to trade online for fear of being attacked of cheated. The businesses thus miss out on a massive share of the market and lose even more money in the long run. This in turn, damages economy all over. Small businesses make up a large part of economic systems and it’s a shame they are most likely to be hit.
Surprisingly though, many of the small businesses have not taken any measures to secure themselves even after being hit by cyber crime. The ones that do take such actions usually limit their safety measures to making sure their anti-virus and firewall are up to date, something which clearly isn’t enough anymore!