SMALL BUSINESSES NOW INVESTING BIG MONEY TO REDUCE THE RISKS OF CYBER CRIME

Susan Hallam, Managing Director at Hallam Internet

Susan Hallam
Susan Hallam

Cyber-security stories in the press tend to focus on eye catching stories targeting high profilemultinationals like Sony Picture’s data breach, or hotel chains like Sheraton having customer credit card details hacked.

Smaller businesses such as Hallam Internetface the same kinds of risks, and as a result many SME’s are now wising up to the thought of protecting their data assets.

Despite best efforts, out of 93% of small businesses who take the steps in protecting their business against digital threats, two thirds have still become a victim of cybercrime in the past two years. These attacks to the security system have cost these businesses almost £3500 per security breach.

The Federation of Small Businesses report that smaller business firms are collectively hacked seven million times a year, and these attacks are costing the UK economy over £5 billion.

But as a small digital Marketing agency, Hallam Internet have decided to take control on these steps after discovering there that is support for small businesses from these attacks, which is an ongoing preparation that many other small businesses are now adopting.

Small businesses can no longer afford to be underprepared. The war on cybercrime is now non-negotiable.

Inviting in the Hacker

It’s clear that previous cyber precautions are no longer enough to hold down the small business walls from a hacker, which is why a fifth of UK small businesses are now taking the financial plunge and invited the hacker in to infiltrate their systems.

As a small UK-based Digital MarketingAgency, Hallam Internet has recently invested £16,000 to in upgrading its cyber-security. This investment comprised new hardware and software, professional IT advice and guidance, and the development of a comprehensive set of business processes and policies that govern the way in which they work. This investment included attainment of the Cyber Essentials Plus accreditation, an IT Governance certification. We went through an extensive assessment of all our security processes to achieve the Cyber Essentials PLUS kite mark.

These included the following areas:

  • boundary firewalls
  • internet gateways
  • secure system figuration
  • controlled access to data
  • updated virus and malware protection
  • administrative boundary firewalls an update patch software

They search and test every area of your businesses weakness. 95% of the companies that have been certified by Cyber Essentials haven’t been involved in a single data breach since achieving their certification.

As our business keeps growing, we are consistently working with a number of specialist partners to identify how we can maintain and improve our cyber security.

If the £16,000 price tag is making you contemplate taking out a second loan, please rest assured it doesn’t have to. Small businesses of any size are now having these accreditations tailored to cost and size of business, whilst still attaining an IT Governance certification.

Unfortunately, there are still some small businesses are still fearfully stuck on the five figure pay out it of ensuring ultimate protection against their systems.

The Greatest Risk

The greatest risk a small business faces is somewhat obvious. Often times than not, security software is simply not kept up to date.

Outdated data protection can be as detrimental to a small business as having none at all. Why? Because you are under the illusion that your businesses systems are safe.

Though two thirds of business executives are now reporting and increased spend of10-59% on security software within the last year, a further 27% have acknowledged that a possible attack could cost their business £75,000- £175,000. Is an expired software update really worth that risk?

After spending years in the Digital Marketing sector, I have seen businesses still getting unnecessarily hacked within their email marketing database and by internet spoofing.

As a solution to this, 80% of small businesses within the digital marketing field are now increasing their digital marketing budgets and increasing their budget to protect their systems.

An increased number of businesses are also now using a range of data backup process solutions available, which can be offered as a single service price and still let a business monitor any abnormalities within their network. 

Customer Safety

Every business wants their customers to feel confident in not only the work they’re providing for them, but the assurance that their data is safe and protected.

A data breach could cost your company much more than just a repair job. The possible liability a business could face can lead to a massive spend on settlements, lawsuits and compensation.

Over half of UK organisations are set to increase their cyber spending over the next year, with spending targeted on chief information security officers, who will be held accountable if any organisation suffers a data breach.

The future investments small businesses are now implementing are setting a precedent of risk assessments that are now vital in keeping our small businesses protected.