According to a recent survey on global cyber crime threats, small businesses are becoming increasingly targeted by cyber criminals because of their inadequate security defences.
The study revealed that 31 per cent of all targeted attacks in 2012 were directed at small businesses with fewer than 250 employees, which is a threefold increase since 2011.
According to the report, this could be because cyber criminals are enticed by a small firm’s bank account information, customer data and intellectual property and the situation is made worse by that fact that small companies often believe they are immune to attacks targeted at them.
The European Union is set to bring in a directive to help tackle cyber crime, which will force companies to tell regulators every time they suffer a data breach.
The Government is concerned at the £27bn cost to the economy of cyber crime and is supportive of the directive, although it is concerned that there is an absence of coverage for micro businesses in it.
It is also concerned at the cost of complying with the directive for smaller companies, so the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) is inviting SMEs to bid for allocations of up to £5,000 to help pay for security consultants who would tighten up their security.
Since the cost of reporting a breach could be around £85 a time, which includes restoring any information lost, any extra cash offered to help with data protection would be welcome.
The BIS is also going to be providing guidance to small firms about giving cyber crime a higher priority, particularly as one of the most worrying aspects of the survey is that in 57 per cent of the cyber attacks small firms suffered, it was staff who were the perpetrators of the raids.