Businesses put consumers at risk of cybercrime

Small businesses remain open to cyber attacks despite the danger to consumer clients, according to research.

Almost three quarters of British businesses are aware that their actions put their consumers at risk of being a victim of cybercrime.

However, they continue to readily send private and confidential information insecurely anyway, according to research by StayPrivate.

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the UK are just as much to blame for subjecting themselves and their customers to cybercrime by not having sufficient processes, procedures and solutions in place to tackle this growing problem, according to the study.

There is a clear belief among UK business leaders that cybercriminals only target larger firms rather than SMEs and they also do not believe it to be an important enough issue, resulting in businesses not doing enough to help protect their customers.

The research suggests that businesses are not using their emails conscientiously enough, with more than a quarter of respondents regularly sending messages to people they didn’t intend to.

Almost three quarters (73 per cent) of business owners, C-Suite and senior management are aware that using their clients’ personal email for sending and receiving personal and confidential information makes them cybercrime targets.

Businesses feel vulnerable to cybercrime

A sense of inevitability surrounds a lot of businesses on this topic, with almost half of companies (46 per cent) saying they are likely to be a victim of cybercrime in the future.

Only one in five (22 per cent) actually believe that SMEs can be victims of cyber criminals and the same number of businesses wouldn’t feel responsible if their client’s information was intercepted by cyber criminals.

SMEs are already feeling the effects of cybercrime as one in five (22 per cent) claim to have already been hacked or had information compromised recently.

Rob Reid, founder and COO of StayPrivate, thinks that the best way of practically combatting cybercrime is to make all your communication channels as private as possible, limiting the opportunities that criminals can exploit.

Reid says that, in the past few years, we have seen too many examples of how corporate reputations can be left in tatters if a firm is attacked by cybercriminals, and that British SMEs are simply not doing enough to address the cyber threats posed to them and their customers.

‘The business community needs to understand that email is not like traditional mail where a physical letter will only end up in the hands of the intended recipient, however with email once the message has been copied and sent, it has gone for good and becomes fair game to cybercriminals,’ he adds.

‘It doesn’t take much for a cybercriminal to capitalise on the insecure communication behaviour of SMEs, leading to either the business or their customers suffering from considerable financial loss. These risks can be easily mitigated by having the right policies and solutions in place.’

Further reading on security

Owen Gough, SmallBusiness UK

Owen Gough

Owen was a reporter for Bonhill Group plc writing across the and titles before moving on to be a Digital Technology reporter for the

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