Almost half of UK businesses experienced cybersecurity breach last year

Lincoln event aims to help organisations with digital security
Credit: Shutterstock.com/ Titima Ongkantong

Almost half of UK businesses experience at least one cybersecurity breach of attack last year, according to a government survey.

The report found that 66% of cyberattacks occurred in SMEs, with 45% in micro-businesses and 41% in large companies.

With nearly half of the country’s businesses having experienced a cybersecurity breach, and SMEs being the most affected by these breaches, Instant Offices highlights the need for better data protection practices in the SME environment.

With greater connectivity comes greater risk

In recent years, workspaces have become far more connected, both physically and digitally. Employees work across multiple unsecured devices, from office desktops to personal laptops to tablets and even their mobile phones.

In addition, more SME owners are embracing flexible and co-working office spaces to save on start-up costs and keep their business agile. Without a solid security plan in place, this leaves sensitive digital information and company secrets open to a higher risk of theft.

The rise of BYOD in the workplace

BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) is a practice that allows employees to use their personal computers, smartphones or tablets for work purposes. While it might sound like a convenient solution for on-the-go business activities, BYOD also exposes companies to the increased risk of a cybersecurity breach.

Data leaks, data loss, malicious apps and viruses, lack of control and lack of transparency are all problems that come with BYOD.

However, that hasn’t stopped it from becoming widespread in the UK with almost half of UK businesses allowing staff to use personal devices for regular work activities.

How are SMEs improving data protection?

With the flexible office trend on the rise, how are companies – especially SMEs – protecting their data?

The government study reveals that 58% of businesses have sought information or advice on cybersecurity threats in the past year. This information was obtained mostly from external consultants.

More businesses are spending money on their data protection and security needs, with medium enterprises leading the trend at 87%. These are good indications that more businesses are taking data protection seriously.

It’s essential for SME owners to ensure all data protection policies in the workplace are up to date, and to foster a culture of awareness and good practices.

Danny Babington, Senior Operator Relationships Manager at Instant Offices, said: “Operators are constantly trying to improve security for their clients.

“Privacy has become such a talking point of late, and every provider needs to make certain that IT and infrastructure is of the highest calibre to make sure they are not falling behind the pack – but most vitally, putting the client’s needs for privacy at the forefront of everything they do.

“It’s a highly competitive market, and this is the most vital one that all operators need to get right.”