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How SMEs can avoid being cyber-attack victims

The recent worldwide cyber-attack is a huge wake-up call for SMEs – a warning to invest in cyber-security writ large. But safety comes at a cost. How can they afford it? Alternative finance has a role to play.

The scale and impact of the ransomware attack has dominated the headlines and needs little recapping. Although big businesses were the main victims, small businesses should consider themselves on alert. The time to check and if necessary improve cyber-security is now – a message that the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has publically delivered.

Small business owners should need little reminding about the threat of cyber-attacks. According to a British Chambers of Commerce study, one in five businesses has been a victim of a cyber-attack in the last 12 months. The cost? The FSB puts it almost £3,000 per SME, with the time needed for a business to recover and become fully functional again at an average of 2.2 days. And that’s just the short-term impact – many businesses that are hit by a cyber-attack never recover and ultimately go under.

If this wasn’t enough for small business owners to digest, the reality is that cyber-attacks are only going to become more sophisticated in the future, with the ill-prepared becoming even more vulnerable.

Action is undoubtedly required but where is the money coming from? SMEs are already under considerable financial pressure, having to find the resources to manage demands relating to pension auto-enrolment, new legislation regarding the living wage and apprenticeships, and endemic late payment. Then there’s the effect on the market of Brexit-bred uncertainty.

This is why alternative finance has such an important role to play. With traditional lenders remaining cautious, services such as invoice finance, asset finance and peer-to-peer lending are offering small business a lifeline. The flexibility, affordability and accessibility of these services are giving owners the power to manage cashflow and capital.

At a time when the need to strengthen cyber-security has never been clearer, it is vital that SMEs have the ability to afford it. With the help of alternative finance services they can.

To find out more about A&T Business Associates services, contact us on 01903 602211 or info@atbusinessassociates.co.uk.

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