Cyber security

shutterstock_109301795Research suggests small and medium sized businesses could reap more benefits and win more business from their bigger competitors by improving their cyber security.

The research, from the Government’s Cyber Streetwise campaign, shows that 43% of small and medium sized retail businesses expect their sales to increase on Cyber Monday. But 52% think bigger businesses are most likely to benefit and that the day won’t have much impact on them, largely because customers believe their websites are more secure than those of small firms.

Despite this, just 39% of small and medium sized retailers consider cyber security a big priority for their business. And less than a quarter take extra precautions when processing online payments, such as adopting a two stage 3D secure payment system (20%) and conducting due diligence on online transactions (17%).

Minister for the digital economy Ed Vaizey said: “Cyber Monday and the Christmas shopping period present excellent opportunities for small and medium sized firms to do business online. Yet a large number of these companies are missing out, because consumers lack the confidence that their websites are secure and choose to shop elsewhere.”

“By focusing on improving their levels of cyber security, small firms can protect themselves from threats and encourage more consumers to buy from them online.”

Founder of www.letssavemoney.com Sarah Willingham said: “Cyber Monday is a great event for SMEs that sell both products and services online to take advantage of. 82% of consumers would buy more from SMEs online if they were better at showing they were protected and this research reinforces the message that small businesses could greatly benefit if they took a few more steps to boost their cyber security.”

Cyber Streetwise advises SMEs to take these basic steps to protect both themselves and their customers:

  • Train staff to understand cyber threats with the Government’s free online course.
  • Keep software secure by always installing updates.
  • Install and use anti-virus software.
  • Use complex passwords which include a minimum of three words and a symbol.
  • Use the Cyber Essentials scheme to protect against common cyber threats.

For more information visit www.cyberstreetwise.com.