IT problems and cybercrime huge threat to small business

Mike Cherry, National Chairman of the FSB
Many firms are unprepared for the impact that disruptions from cybercrime, staff losses and severe weather can cause, according to new research by the Federation of Small Business (FSB).

The data, part of wider forthcoming research into how the UK can better use supply chains, shows that only 35% of small businesses and the self-employed have a plan in place to cope with potential disruption risks to their business operations or their supply chains.

The most prevalent risks to small firms were customers who failed to pay for services or goods (51%) as well as the loss of key members of staff (37%).

But in addition to these, other risks identified as a threat to small firms included IT problems (29%), the impact of cybercrime (17%), severe weather (13%) and even the dangers of terrorism (1%).

Smaller businesses are the most vulnerable to such risks due to their size and lack of resources.

FSB wants more to be done by larger companies in supply chains to help smaller businesses with fewer resources to provide assistance with forward planning. Also, support channels backed by central Government and Local Authorities should emphasise the need for smaller firms to have continuity plans in place as a routine measure.

FSB National Chairman, Mike Cherry, said: “Small businesses face a number of threats on a regular basis and it is vital they are prepared to deal with them. By implementing continuity plans, small firms can prepare for many of the sudden changes that can impact on them directly and their supply chains.

“One key step towards ensuring a business is prepared for any supply chain difficulties is continuity planning. This includes identifying the most significant risks to a business’ commercial operations and creating a plan to mitigate those risks should any of them materialise.

“The costs that businesses face when their supply chains are impacted can be severe and therefore it is crucial that we stress the importance of planning for the future.

“Given the likelihood that an enterprise will encounter some sort of business interruption issue more than once in their life, it is key to resilience that firms are encouraged to consider all risks that they could face.”