Research reveals true impact of cyber-attacks on SMEs

A new study suggests that almost a quarter of UK small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have been forced to temporarily cease their operations as a result of a cyber-attack.

The research, which was carried out by computer software firm Malwarebytes, highlights the detrimental impact a cyber-attack can have on a small business – illustrating the importance of taking appropriate steps to prevent such attacks in the first place, particularly as cybercrime is growing increasingly common in the UK.

Malwarebytes surveyed several businesses with 1,000 employees or less and found that more than a third had been infected with so-called ransomware at least once in the last year.

One in six businesses told the software company that a ransomware infection had forced them to cease their operations for 25 hours or more – with some claiming that a cyber-attack had forced them to shut up shop for up to 100 hours.

Worse still, 15 per cent of SMEs surveyed said that ransomware or cyber-attacks had led to a noticeable loss of revenue in the past year, while 27 per cent of SME owners or decision makers said that their organisation was unable to identify how their computer systems had become infected.

Two per cent of businesses said that ransomware attacks had spread to every single device on their networks, while a third of SMEs said that they had lost important data or files as a result of an incident.

Marcin Kleczynski, CEO at Malwarebytes, said: “The stakes of a single attack for a small business are far different from the stakes of a single attack for a large enterprise.”

He warned that “businesses of all sizes are increasingly at risk” and that all need to take crucial steps to protect themselves going into the future.