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Smallest businesses failing to grasp the security threat

Those firms employing 10 or less people have a laid back attitude to security that could land them in trouble

The old adage about only knowing what you know appears to be true for the smallest businesses when it comes to cyber security and the perceived danger of being a victim of a breach.

The vast majority of those firms that employ less than 10 people don’t think they could be a target of an attack. But why would they when only 14% have the means of detecting if they have been victims.

There was a time a few years ago when small firms could rest on their laurels in the belief that only large enterprises were the targets of cyber criminals. But the message that SMEs are often hit more regularly has largely got through thanks to plenty of industry efforts, sharing research and anecdotal evidence.

But according to a Fasthosts survey the channel has more education to do at the micro business level with many still largely ignorant of cyber threats.

The survey not only found that many firms said they had never been affected by a security breach but 84% felt that they had some form of protection in place. That description covers a patchy deployment of some firewalls, system updates and limited intrusion detection.

Unlike those running larger businesses only 20% of those quizzed by YouGov, on behalf of Fasthosts, decribed cyber security as a high priority.

“This study shows that many micro businesses remain in the dark over cyber security threats and the solutions available to defend themselves. While 84% of businesses claim to have ‘some form of cyber security protection in place,’ the fact that 33% of businesses do not have a firewall should be a cause for concern,” said Simon Yeoman, general manager at Fasthosts.

“The research has also highlighted some misperceptions among businesses as to the best ways to protect their data. With only 15% of micro businesses that stores data claiming to be worried about where or how their data is stored, there seems to be widespread confusion over whether data even needs to be protected at all! This should serve as a wakeup call to all of us in the data hosting industry to help educate micro businesses on the necessity of concrete data security practices, especially in a post-GDPR landscape where poor data practices will be very costly indeed,” he added.

Alex Hilton, CEO of the Cloud Industry Forum, said that the report had highlighted the attitude of saller firms towards the cloud.

“While it is reassuring to see that 44% of micro businesses store some of their data in the cloud, it is also alarming to see that over three times as many businesses believe an on-premise server is more secure than a cloud alternative. The protection of our data is one of the biggest challenges of the day, so it is important for businesses of all sizes to understand that far from being a threat to their data security, the cloud actually presents a solution,” he said.

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