Third of businesses suffering cyber security attacks hit every week

Third of businesses suffering cyber security attacks hit every week
Dan Martin
Dan MartinDan Martin Content & Events

Posted: Fri 1st Apr 2022

Almost a third of UK companies that are targeted by cyber fraudsters are attacked at least once a week, new government research reveals.

The annual Cyber Security Breaches Survey by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, said cyber attacks are becoming more frequent with firms reporting more breaches over the past year.

At 39%, the proportion of businesses experiencing an attack is the same as in 2021, but 31% of those firms suffer a breach or attack weekly.

The most common threat was phishing attempts, experienced by 83% of businesses, while 21% identified more sophisticated actions such as a denial of service, malware, or ransomware attack.

For those businesses suffering loss of money or data, the average cost of cyber attacks was £4,200.

When it comes to how businesses can leave themselves open to cyber threats, the report said one of the reasons companies are more likely to suffer a breach is if they use a managed service provider (MSP). An MSP is a supplier of IT services to businesses. For small businesses, this is commonly central functions such as payroll, HR, and IT.

The report found 36% of micro businesses and 57% of small companies used at least one MSP, but only 13% of firms of all sizes reviewed the cyber risks posed by suppliers.

Not prioritising cyber security when selecting an MSP was especially true for smaller organisations. “They prioritised the price of procuring the MSP as well as the overall quality of service they would offer,” the report said.

Another threat is using out of date software such as old versions of Windows which may be more vulnerable to cyber security breaches.

The survey revealed that 16% of micro firms and 20% of small businesses still had Windows 7 or 8 installed. Both versions are no longer supported by Microsoft so security updates are not available.

Cyber minister Julia Lopez said:

"It is vital that every organisation takes cyber security seriously as more and more business is done online and we live in a time of increasing cyber risk. No matter how big or small your organisation is, you need to take steps to improve digital resilience now."

Small business cyber security support

Enterprise Nation has partnered with Avast to help small business owners protect their brand, employees and customers from online threats. Go here to access blog posts, videos and other resources to improve your cyber security.

Cyber security advice includes:

Dan Martin
Dan MartinDan Martin Content & Events
I'm a freelance content creator and event host who helps small businesses and the organisations that support them. I'm also Enterprise Nation's Local Leader for Bristol. I have 20 years of experience as a small business journalist having interviewed hundreds of entrepreneurs from famous names like Sir Richard Branson and Deborah Meaden to the founders behind brand new start-ups. I've worked for a range of leading small business publications and support groups, most recently as head of content at Enterprise Nation where I was responsible for the prolific output of content on the company's blog and social media. I now freelance for Enterprise Nation as the website's news reporter and as the host of the Small Business sessions podcast. I'm based in Bristol where I run and host regular events with the local small business community in my role as Enterprise Nation's Local Leader for Bristol. I also have strong connections with other major business organisations in the south west region. In total, I've hosted over 100 events including conferences with an audience of hundreds for international brands like Xero and Facebook and live web chats from inside 10 Downing Street. With my partner, I co-run Lifestyle District, a lifestyle blog focused on culture, art, theatre and photography.

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