Small companies in the UK are bearing the brunt of cyber crime attacks, according to research from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).

Its new report suggests that small firms in this country are targeted by online criminals a total of 7 million times a year at a cost of more than £5 billion.

Two-thirds of small businesses say they have fallen victim to at least one cyber attack in the past two years. The average number of attacks in this two-year period was four, at an estimated cost of £3,000 a time.

The FSB found that this high volume of attacks was despite the fact that the overwhelming majority of companies (93%) say they have taken steps to protect themselves from digital threats. The report stated: “Cyber crime costs small businesses disproportionately more than big businesses when adjusted for organisational size.”

Government intervention against cyber crime required

The FSB added that government intervention was now required to support smaller firms in their battle against digital crime. Spokesman Paul Miles Rogers said:

“The digital economy is vital to small businesses – presenting a huge opportunity to reach new markets and customers – but these benefits are matched by the risk of opportunities for criminals to attack businesses.

“Small firms take their cyber security responsibility very seriously but often they are the least able to bear the cost of doing so. Smaller businesses have limited resources, time and expertise to deal with ever-evolving and increasing digital attacks. We’re calling on government, larger businesses, individuals and providers to take part in a joint effort to tackle cybercrime and improve business resilience.”

The FSB said the government should provide advice and guidance on avoiding cyber attacks through the National Cyber Centre, while incentives should also be offered to encourage investment by small firms in increasing their cyber resilience.

Has your small business been a victim of a cyber attack? And what measures do you have in place to protect your business? Leave your comments below.