What are the top risks faced by today’s SMEs?

A new study carried out by insurance company Allianz claims to have identified the ‘top risks’ faced by today’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

According to the research, which surveyed more than 500 SME leaders and decision-makers, the number one challenge today’s small businesses face is the emerging threat of cybercrime and data loss.

The findings perhaps come as no surprise, with the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) – which was introduced in May – giving the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) new powers to hit businesses with hefty fines if they fail to adequately protect their data.

Under the new rules, firms can potentially be fined up to four per cent of their global turnover or €20 million, whichever is higher, if affected by serious data breaches.

The insurer’s study also found that recruitment woes ranked high on small business’ ‘risk lists’, as did theft, time management and the risk of malicious damage to business equipment and property.

In addition to these concerns, SMEs also told Allianz that they were worried about innovation – and specifically the possibility that their competitors might overtake them in terms of IT and new technology.

David Martin, of Allianz, noted that SMEs “clearly recognised” the potential threats they faced in today’s increasingly digital business environment, as well as “more traditional risks such as theft or business interruption.”

However, he said that businesses needed to do more to protect themselves from data loss and misuse, while simultaneously embracing the endless possibilities technology offers to help firms move forward.