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How SMEs can afford essential cyber-security training

Small businesses are struggling to protect themselves against cyber-attacks. There is a need for more cyber-security training and better cyber-security systems, but these measures come with a price tag. Alternative finance can help firms manage the costs.

According to a new study by Centrify, almost 80% of workers in the UK have never received any cyber-security training. Furthermore, nearly 70% do not have the confidence in their own cyber-security processes, while over a quarter use the same password for multiple accounts.

Research from CybSafe offers more evidence of this gap in cyber-security provision. The survey shows that less than half of small businesses in the UK have a cyber-security training and awareness programme in place.

As small businesses are particularly vulnerable to cyber-crime, it is important that they do more to protect themselves and their clients. Figures from the internet provider Beaming show that small businesses faced almost 150,000 attempted cyber-attacks in the second quarter of 2019, up from just over 52,500 in 2018.

Data from the Federation of Small Businesses further illustrates how SMEs are being targeted. The organisation says that one in five small businesses has experienced a cyber-attack since 2017, with the number of attacks over this two-year period estimated at 7 million. The annual cost to firms of these attacks is put at £4.5 billion.

The benefit of investing in stronger cyber-defence systems is clear but in the current climate doing so is far from straightforward. Small businesses must manage a raft of policy and non-policy costs, and the impact on turnover of a weakened economy. As a result, finding and accessing capital to invest in new equipment and resources is a challenge.

This is where alternative finance can help.

In the wake of extended caution from traditional lenders, the likes of invoice finance, asset finance, peer-to-peer lending and crowdfunding are redrawing the small business funding landscape. These facilities, which offer a more personalised approach to lending, are helping small businesses grow. They are providing them with access to capital, on an affordable and flexible basis, to help manage cash flow and for essential investment, such as in cyber-security training and systems.

This is how a Sussex small business used peer-to-peer lending, through a commercial finance broker that specialises in alternative finance, to raise the capital to invest in new resources.

Small businesses are a major target for cyber-criminals and it is these firms that can least afford the cost of attacks, both in terms of recovery and repair and reputational damage. Investment is cyber-security is essential and small businesses owner need to be aware of all the funding options available to them, including alternative finance.

To find out more about A&T Business Associates services, contact Steve Bowles on 01903 602211 or steve.bowles@atbusinessassociates.co.uk.

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