Don't let your business become a cyber security statistic

Neil, SME Engagement Lead at the National Cyber Security Centre, highlights how cyber security breaches have affected businesses in the last year. As well as offering guidance on what to do to prevent a breach from occurring.

Business in the Community’s Would You Be Ready? campaign focuses on common hazards and threats that businesses need to consider to be more resilient. One of the biggest threats to businesses in the UK is cyber security. It is well worth considering how well prepared your company really is to avoid the heartache that a cyber attack could bring. To see how well prepared your business is for a cyber attack or other hazards and for simple guidance on how to be more resilient, take the Readiness Test.

Key findings of the Cyber Security Breaches Survey and steps SME's can take to avoid becoming a victim of cyber crime

The Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2018 is a quantitative and qualitative survey of UK businesses. It helps organisations to understand the nature and significance of the cyber security threats they face, and what others are doing to stay secure. It found that:
• 42% of micro/small businesses identified at least one breach or attack in the last 12 months.

• In almost one-fifth of the cases (17%), it took these businesses a day or more to recover from the breach.

• Virtually all UK businesses  (98%) represented in the survey rely on some form of digital communication or services, such as staff email addresses, websites, online banking and the ability for customers to shop online.

• Breaches were more often identified among the organisations that hold personal data, where staff use personal devices for work (known as bringing your own device, or BYOD) or that use cloud computing.

• The majority of businesses (56%) and over two-fifths of charities (44%) hold personal data on customers, beneficiaries or donors electronically. Among these, 47% of businesses have experienced breaches or attacks.

• Just under half (45%) of businesses have BYOD. The businesses where this occurs are more likely to have had breaches or attacks (49%).

• Storing of personal data is widespread. Irrespective of size, a majority of businesses hold personal data (and 55% of micro or small businesses do).

• Around half of all businesses (52%) consider online services to be a core part of the goods and services they provide, at least to some extent.

• The use of externally-hosted web services, known as cloud computing, is widespread (with 61% of micro and 59% of small businesses using these services).

In the qualitative survey, while outsourced cyber security providers were seen to improve organisations’ approaches to cyber security, this was not always the reality of the situation. In some instances, contracts with outsourced providers were only to provide technical support after a cyber security breach occurred but did not cover ongoing monitoring and protection. Therefore, organisations may have suggested they were covered by their outsourced provider, but not have had any preventative measures or protections in place.

The qualitative survey also raises potential issues about organisations offloading their sense of responsibility for cyber security to external service providers. This was often tied in with an overall fatalistic approach to cyber security, where it was seen as being out of the hands of the organisation, so not their problem (41% of micro and 63% of small businesses have an outsourced cyber security provider).

Avoid becoming a victim of cyber crime

Taking some simple, quick and low-cost steps can help protect you from the vast majority of threats. These steps are explained in guidance linked below. The NCSC issued the Small Business Guide in October 2017, largely as a way to help protect against untargeted attacks, which are the types of attack you are most likely to face.

Making sure you keep your computers, tablets and smartphones up to date with the latest updates, using strong passwords, and backing up your important data are all things you can do to protect yourself from many of the threats.

For more information, visit:

• Cyber Security: Small Business Guide
• Cyber Essentials

After reading these sobering facts and figures, as a business owner, can you really afford not to be ready for a hazard or threat? Take Business in the Community’s Readiness Test and find out what you can do to make your business more resilient today.