Cyber crime hits 40% of small businesses, says Federation

Thu, 11/07/2013 - 14:33 -- Editor

SDLP Foyle MP Mark Durkan has urged businesses in Derry and throughout the North to think about cyber security and follow the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) top tips to stay safe online.  
The Federation of Small Businesses recently published a report, "Cyber Security and Fraud: The Impact on Small Businesses", which shows that cyber crime costs its members around £785 million per year as they fall victim to fraud and online crime.  The report shows that 41 per cent of FSB members have been a victim of cyber crime in the last 12 months, putting the average cost at around £4,000 per business. Around three in 10 members have been a victim of fraud, typically by a customer or client (13%) or through ‘card not present’ fraud (10%).  However, the report finds that almost 20 per cent of FSB members have not taken any steps to protect themselves from a cyber crime, even though 36 per cent of respondents said they regularly install security patches. Almost six in 10 members regularly update their virus scanning software to minimise their exposure to online crime.  In response to this the FSB has developed ten top tips for small firms to help them keep their data secure and reduce the risk of online fraud. The tips include measures on having the right security protection and practices, staff training, and having regular assessment and testing of security.  Mr Durkan said: “Cyber crime can hit small firms hard, so it’s important they think carefully about the procedures in place to prevent it. The FSB’s top tips are an excellent tool for businesses that aren’t sure where to turn to for advice, and set out clear steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of operating online.” Ann Swain, Chair of the FSB’s Home Affairs Policy Committee said: “Tackling cyber crime is a growing priority for businesses, and while a lot of our members are taking action we need to make sure small businesses adopt a range of measures to protect themselves. Our research shows just how common cyber crime is, and the serious effect it has on firms, so we’re keen to make sure they have access to the right advice and support.”