Blog written by the North East Business Resilience Centre (NEBRC).
A recent survey from the University of Sunderland has found that many small businesses do not feel that cyber security is a priority; are unclear on what they need to do to keep their company safe online; and often discount their vulnerability to certain types of attack.
This comes at a time where cyber crime is at an all-time high, with more employees working from home, and consumers buying online, than ever before - criminals have increased opportunities to victimise individuals.
And unfortunately, that is exactly what’s happening. Indeed, the pandemic has seen a 400% increase in cyber fraud, with small businesses, the self-employed and freelancers working from home the most at risk.
Put simply, small businesses must take steps to protect themselves. They need to be aware that they are at risk of cyber crime, and they need to take basic protective steps to defend their business.
Martin Wilson, NEBRC Head of Student Services, is currently undertaking research at the University of Sunderland to identify some of the misconceptions SMEs have about their vulnerability and discover why this is the case.
Martin comments, “Many SMEs believe they are too small a target for cyber crime. This is a misconception. Businesses of all sizes are attacked by criminals and the business impacts can be really devastating.
"However, by implementing basic security practices SMEs can drastically improve their resilience and realise the many benefits of good cyber security, such as demonstrating to customers that you take cyber security seriously and are protecting their data.
“We want to promote these benefits and make sure businesses take up the offer of extremely valuable support from the police and its partners.”
Martin is hoping that further research with the University of Sunderland will enable the NEBRC to improve its SMEs engagement, not just within the region, but across the country.
Further reflecting on the findings of his recent research to date, Martin adds: “It is vital to our mission that we understand how best to work with and interact with SME’s to empower action and make a change. Above all, we want to instil reassurance - and not fear - regarding the need and benefits to cyber security for all.”