Only one in five small businesses in the UK consider cyber security to be a top priority, a survey by Barclaycard has suggested.
The study found that cyber-attacks can cost small businesses between £75,000 and £311,000 in sales, business disruption, asset recovery and compensation and fines. Despite this, 10% of businesses have never invested in security software to increase their website safety.
The report also suggested that 54% of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are concerned about being targeted by a cyber-criminal.
Almost 50% of the businesses surveyed reported that they have already experienced being targeted by a cyber-attack, and one in ten had been under fire by four or more attacks.
Although 44% of firms said that defending their business from online threats lay with them personally, just 13% stated that they were certain that their understanding of cyber security was enough to keep their business safe.
Barclaycard product director, Paul Clarke, said: ‘As our research shows, many small businesses are failing to take the necessary precautions, either because they don’t know how to protect themselves or, more worryingly, because they don’t think they need to.
‘Cyber-security is not a one-off investment that can then be forgotten about, especially as criminals are becoming increasingly sophisticated in the way they target businesses.’