Data breaching risk underestimated by SMEs

Government figures show that data breaching costs SMEs an average of £310,800, according to research by Experian UK.

The businesses surveyed estimated the average cost to be £179,990, a shortfall of over £130,000.

Almost a third of SMEs don’t have a data breach response in place, while only 29% of businesses with plans in place update them quarterly.

SMEs are underestimating the costs associated with data breaching which could damage reputation and trust for both business and consumers.

95% of consumers say they’d take action if their personal data was stolen, while 64% would discourage from using SMEs services following a data breach.

The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) has identified five most common cyber attacks faced by SMEs:

  • phishing – gaining sensitive information while posing as a trustworthy contact
  • ransomware – encrypting data and extort a ransom to release an unlock code
  • insider threat – deliberate or careless leaking of documents
  • hacking – targeting SMEs to gain valuable information e.g. bank account, credit card details
  • data leakage – portable storage devices being targets for data thieves.
    Jim Steve, head of data breach at Experian UK, said:

“With high profile data breaches becoming an almost-monthly occurrence, and looming European cyber legislation that could enforce huge penalty’s, it is important that companies of all sizes to expect the unexpected and ensure they have plans in place that mitigate damage to their customers – and, ultimately, their reputation.”

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