A third of SMEs believe the risk of online security threats is on the rise

Findings show that a third of respondents perceive the risk of online security attacks to be increasing, while 41 per cent of SMEs would like more information to help protect themselves against cybercrime.

The research which surveyed 500 UK-based SMEs, was conducted in partnership with BT and Symantec and supported by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. It has been carried out to identify awareness of cyber security issues amongst SMEs. With cybercrime costing Britain £27 billion a year, these research findings indicate a pressing need to increase the level of support and information available to small businesses in the fight against cybercrime.

The research follows Prime Minister, David Cameron’s address to UK and international industry at the London Conference on Cyberspace in November last year, outlining the Government’s £650 million commitment to boost Britain’s cyber defenses as part of its Cyber Security Strategy.

Tony Neate, CEO, Get Safe Online comments: “Over the last six years, the Get Safe Online website has been providing information and advice to smaller businesses to help them develop their own cyber security plans. We’ve also participated in trade and local business events, either directly or through partners, to communicate the importance of a preventative approach to online security. However, there is a clear need for more dedicated support for smaller businesses, particularly those that do not have full-time IT support.”

Jay Epton, UK SMB Director at Symantec, comments: “Cybercrime remains a serious threat to UK business – Symantec blocked more than 5.5 billion malicious attacks during 2011, an increase of 81 percent over the previous year. This research has highlighted many SMB’s currently struggle to understand the information out there and what it means to them, and to translate that into their own IT security As such, Symantec has teamed up with public sector organisations and other businesses to look at ways of working together to not only increase awareness of the risks of cyber attack but to also consider how the small business community can be supported in understanding online crime, how it effects their organisation and ensure that they are protecting themselves effectively. ”

“These research findings will allow us to identify support needs required by the small business community, adds Ashley Jelleyman, General Manager – Information Assurance and Cyber Security at BT. They will also be instrumental in the development of a wider strategy set to ensure that SMEs receive the information and support they need to deal with internet safety issues with confidence and safeguard their business against breaches in online security.”

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