SMEs urged to tighten cyber security following shock study

UK small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are being urged to tighten their cyber security this year, after a study revealed a steady rise in cyber-attacks over the course of 2016.

Data from cloud-computing and telecoms firm Beaming suggests that SMEs were subjected to just shy of 230,000 cyber threats in 2016, with a fivefold increase in the number of unique IP addresses used to specifically target UK businesses throughout the year.

Beaming says that an increasing number of cyber attackers attempted to access company databases at the beginning of the year, while as many as 90 per cent hackers opted for a different approach toward the end of the year, seeking to seize control of connected devices in the workplace.

By the close of 2016, the volume of cyber-attacks either hitting or penetrating firewalls at individual firms hit more than 1,000 every single day, according to Beaming’s research.

Commenting on the study, Sonia Blizzard, managing director of Beaming, said: “The cyber threat is real and it is growing. Any business that is connected to the internet needs to take responsibility for cyber security at board level and ensure they are doing everything they can to ensure they don’t expose their people, assets, customers and business partners to greater risk”.

A separate study carried out by commercial insurer RSA in recent weeks suggests that the average cyber-attack will cost an SME anywhere between £65,000 and £115,000 – yet only nine per cent of firms invested in protective measures in 2016.