How tight is your security?

Understanding the real risks

Why security is key to keeping customers happy, complying with the law and growing your business.

Small businesses that think they’re immune to cyberattacks are in for a rude awakening.

The recent IDC white paper, The Road to the Digital Future of SMEs, surveyed 300 small to medium enterprises and uncovered evidence that many SMEs need to take security more seriously.

Despite the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) coming into effect in May 2018, only 13%[i] of SMEs said they felt ready for the new measures. Meanwhile a worrying 21%[ii] believe that the GDPR will not apply to them.

The statistics represent a widespread lackadaisical approach to security among SMEs, many of whom aren’t aware of the risks or the products and technology available to ensure they don’t suffer a breach with a hefty fine attached.

Real risk of cyberattack

Gayle McFarlane, a partner at international law firm Eversheds Sutherland previously told Insights in the article GDPR: The clock’s ticking, “You can’t think, ‘I’m under the radar, nobody will take action against me.’ The ICO doesn’t look at it that way and under GDPR they can issue large Civil Monetary Penalties far beyond their current maximum of £500,000. Small businesses could receive fines of up to £17.5m, while large organisations can be fined up to 4% of annual global turnover.”

So what are the chances of suffering a cyber attack any way? Probably higher than most businesses realise. Some 57%[i] of firms have experienced an attack in the past year. Cybercrime and data breaches currently cost UK small businesses £34bn[ii] a year and 18%[iii] of firms targeted don’t even know how many incidents they’ve had. Even more concerning is the fact that after a security incident 35%[iv] of businesses have done nothing.

Smallest firms hit hardest

This is surprising, not least because breaches hit smaller firms the hardest. Of course, large firms have higher costs, but the financial impact of a cyberattack is “disproportionately high”[i] for the smallest companies, who are surprisingly less security conscious than their larger counterparts. For example, 62%[ii] of large organisations said practising crisis communications response was a high priority; only 47% of smaller firms said the same.

Ignorance around matters of security isn’t just confined to the business world. A recent poll found that 64%[iii] of consumers believe their information is safe on public WiFi networks. Another 78%[iv] have shared sensitive information over unsecured public WiFi, while 20%[v] accessed financial or banking information through it.

Secure and thrive

The Department for Innovation, Business and Skills has produced a handy guide called Small Businesses: What You Need to Know About Cyber Security (PDF), which is a good starting point for SMEs wishing to overhaul security. Its five common sense basics are: download software updates, use strong passwords, delete suspicious emails, use anti-virus software and train your staff.

What the guide misses out, however, is the competitive advantage to be gained from keeping on top of security. After all, to earn and retain customers’ trust, it’s only right that their data should be treated with the respect it deserves. Fail to do so and that trust is lost, leading to customers moving to competitors. In addition, data offers valuable business insights crucial to growth. To beat the competition and maintain access to such data, SMEs need to ensure it is protected.

Future proof your business

We know it’s daunting, but the opportunities offered by watertight security easily outweigh the costs and inconvenience. We’ve helped dozens of SMEs unleash their business with secure solutions that help them reach their full potential, without the risk of cyberattacks.

Approved Food is one such firm. The budget food retailer is a challenger brand competing with the likes of Tesco and Sainsbury’s. By helping founder Dan Cluderay move his systems to the cloud and increasing security measures, we future- proofed Approved Food for the years ahead.

Dan says, “Our business relies on its use of technology to maintain and scale, as well as ensuring we have security, resilience and backup wrapped around our operation.”

To future proof your business, it pays to make sure your security measures measure up.

You can read more about Approved Foods and their digital transformation here.

[i] IDC EMEA DX in UK SMEs Survey, 2017
[ii] Ibid.

[i] Hiscox Cyber Readiness Report, 2017
[ii] Beaming
[iii] Global State of Information Security Survey, 2017
[iv] Hiscox Cyber Readiness Report, 2017

[i] Ibid.
[ii] Hiscox Cyber Readiness Report, 2017
[iii] Norton WiFi Risk Report, 2016
[iv] Ibid.
[v] Ibid. 

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