Cyber crime costs SMEs up to £800 million

Cyber security breaches and fraud are costing small businesses around £785 million a year, a report by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has found.

The research, conducted in partnership with the Home Office, found that:

  • 41 per cent FSB members had fallen victim to cyber crime in the past year
  • the average cost per businesses is £4,000
  • three in ten have been a victim of fraud 
  • one in five have suffered a virus infection
  • eight per cent have been a victim of hacking 
  • five per cent had suffered serious security breaches.

Mike Cherry, national policy chairman, for the FSB, said that cyber crime is acting as a serious barrier to growth.

"Many businesses will not embrace new technology as they fear the repercussions and do not believe they will get adequate protection from crime," he said.

However, both Cherry and parliamentary undersecretary for security James Brokenshire said there were measures small businesses could take to better protect themselves. Top tips include:

  • installing the most up to date virus software on computers
  • ensuring the workplace has a strong password policy (a minimum of eight characters and a mixture of characters and numbers)
  • securing wireless networks.

The advice forms part of the larger '10 Steps to Cyber Security' guidance for small businesses, which is available through the FSB and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).