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SMEs vulnerable to cyber-attacks

Research commissioned by LORCA reveals today that a lack of preparation is leaving small and medium enterprises (SMEs) vulnerable to damaging cyber attacks, as the threat of cyber attacks to businesses increases.

The prevalence of cyber attacks is affecting businesses of all sizes. According to research undertaken for LORCA by One Poll among C-level executives, 50% of organisations with over 500 employees polled have suffered a cyber attack in the past 12 months. This is despite 91% of larger organisations surveyed saying they have a formal protocol in place to prepare for an attack.

Meanwhile, while just 12% of SMEs surveyed have suffered a cyber attack in the past 12 months, the research found that only 37% have a formalised protocol for dealing with cyber attacks. And for almost half of these organisations (46%), the responsibility for cybersecurity falls to the CEO rather than a specialist. This contrasts to larger organisations surveyed, where CTOs are most likely to be responsible for cybersecurity (47%). Larger organisations polled are also more likely to have external specialist support: 47% of them have purchased a security solution from a startup company or SME in the last two years, versus only 15% of smaller organisations.

The research uncovers that a simple lack of awareness may explain why SMEs are less likely to seek external specialist help, with the largest proportion of SMEs polled (37%) choosing awareness of the solution as the key challenge when implementing a new and innovative solution to cyber threats. Again, this contrasts to larger companies, where integration concerns were considered the most significant barrier (47%).

This striking disparity in preparedness among businesses of different sizes suggests SMEs may be leaving themselves at risk from cybercrime. Cyber attacks have a significant impact on all businesses, but can be particularly damaging for smaller companies, which are often least able to afford the financial impact. Leading cybersecurity experts at LORCA suggest this number is only going to grow.

LORCA is releasing these stats ahead of its official launch today, after announcing in April that the contract had been won by innovation centre Plexal. The government-funded centre for cybersecurity innovation will help position the UK as a global leader in the growing field of cybersecurity and keep the nation safe from online threats.