Last year saw a number of high-profile thefts of payment data from major companies and banks, but research shows that smaller firms are hardest hit.
A severe attack typically leaves small and mid-sized companies £65,000-£115,000 out of pocket, according to research by PwC, and the worst-hit firms report up to six security breaches a year. While a bigger business may be equipped to absorb the financial blow, for an SME, costs of this magnitude can quickly spell the end.
Despite this, many smaller companies tend to neglect their security measures as they focus their energies on core commercial activity, say experts.
“They are exposed to many of the same attacks as much larger enterprises, yet they don’t have the security expertise and resources available to those larger firms,” Maxim Weinstein, a security advisor at Sophos, told the BBC.
Worse, as companies increasingly embrace internet-based technologies and payment systems to boost their business, their security expertise struggles to keep up.
“There are some businesses that are much more than just users of technology,” said Weinstein. “They have huge computing requirements as well as massive storage and bandwidth requirements – far more than their head count would suggest.”
“In the same way they don’t run your own bank or accountancy firm they shouldn’t run their own security operation,” he warned.
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