The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) is calling for more government support for its members in defending against cyber threats.
According to a survey of members of the FSB small firms are unfairly carrying the cost of cyber crime in an increasingly vulnerable digital economy.
The survey report revealed smaller firms are collectively attacked seven million times a year, costing the UK an estimated £5.26bn.
The report claimed however that cyber crime costs small businesses disproportionately more than big businesses when adjusted for organisational size.
It also revealed that despite 93% of small firms taking steps to protect their business from digital threats two thirds have been a victim of cyber crime over the past two years.
The report said: “Over that period, those affected have been victims on four occasions on average, costing each business almost £3,000 in total.”
Almost all of the UK’s 5.4 million small firms see the internet as being highly important to their business, with two in three offering, or planning to offer, goods and services online.
FSB national chairman, Mike Cherry, said: “The digital economy is vital to small businesses – presenting a huge opportunity to reach new markets and customers – but these benefits are matched by the risk of opportunities for criminals to attack businesses.
“Small firms take their cyber security responsibility very seriously, but often they are the least able to bear the cost of doing so.
“Smaller businesses have limited resources, time and expertise to deal with ever-evolving and increasing digital attacks. We’re calling on government, larger businesses, individuals and providers to take part in a joint effort to tackle cyber crime and improve business resilience.”
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