Thousands of small businesses vulnerable to cyber attack, warns BT

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UK telecoms group BT has commissioned some research which concludes thousands of small firms in the UK are without business grade security, leaving them open to cyber attack.

BT commissioned a survey of 1,000 ‘decision makers’ at UK businesses, which found that many thousands of small firms in the UK are open to cyber attacks due to insufficient security measures. It estimates 51% of the ‘micro business’ sector is using security software or protocols designed for consumer use, which won’t be tailored towards defending a business.

As well as being equipped with defences that are not fit for purpose, part of the rising danger is the fact these small firms had to move so much more online over the pandemic which gives hackers more opportunities to have a crack at them. Half of all UK small businesses suffered a cyber security breach or attack last year, according to the Government’s recent Cyber Security Breaches survey.

“There has been a huge shift over the past two years in the number of small firms moving their business online,” said Chris Sims, MD for BT’s Single Office/Home Office unit. “Whilst that’s a really encouraging trend, being an online business can also bring its challenges, particularly around cyber security. Any digital business – large or small – can be a target for cyber criminals, and this is something we’ve seen during the pandemic.

“And whilst consumer-grade products are great for protecting you while surfing the web, accessing emails and other personal use, they’re not designed for running a business which requires more robust protection and safeguards. It’s clear that the UK’s smallest firms need more support in this area, so today we’re launching new free cyber security tools for our BT business broadband customers, together with free online advice to help upskill small businesses on how to stay safe online.”

There is some self promotion propelling the motivation to release the results of this report, since BT is piggybacking some info about its business security packages off the back of it. But regardless of that, businesses leaving themselves open (or more open than they need to be) to cyber attacks is particularly pertinent right now.

US President Biden recently issued a statement advising companies to beef up their cyber defences due to likelihood of malicious action by Russia, following its invasion of Ukraine and the subsequent sanctions placed on it primarily by the West. While directed towards US firms, it’s logical that any increase in malicious attacks from Russia would be as likely to be directed at UK firms as US ones, since the UK has been just as vocal and forthright in its opposition to Russia during the crisis.


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