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How SMEs can finance Covid-19-era cybersecurity

Small businesses were a primary target for cyberattacks before the coronavirus and the changes to working practices caused by the pandemic have only made these firms even more vulnerable. There is an urgent need for greater protection but how can cash-strapped businesses afford it?

How Covid-19 working practices are increasing SME vulnerability

As a result of Covid-19, many employees are now working from home, either on a part- or full-time basis, and the creation of a sizeable remote workforce has exposed smaller firms to a new wave of cyberattacks.

Small businesses have increased investment in employee education and in raising staff awareness of cybersecurity in the last year, but the pandemic and resultant surge in home working, in particular with regard to the use of personal computers and domestic internet connections, is making them a soft target for cybercriminals.

One of the most common forms of cyberattack during the pandemic has been phishing, with home-based employees tricked into allowing accessing to private systems and sensitive data by emails that pretend to be important messages from government agencies or other businesses.

Why SMEs are struggling to put in place the cybersecurity they need

The need for significant investment in cybersecurity is clear but at a time when small firms have little in the way of spare time, energy and capital, they are struggling to put adequate protection in place.

According to a new study from the Cyber Readiness Institute, which surveyed 400 small business owners, only 45% of firms with fewer than 10 staff have increased time, money or human capital investments in relation to cybersecurity since the outbreak of Covid-19, while less than 25% have increased training and less than 40% have update cyber policies.

However, despite all the barriers, it is imperative that small business owners find the means to invest in ramping up cybersecurity measures, in particular with regard to remote workforces. If firms don’t find the capital, they will be left vulnerable to cyberattacks that could cripple them.

How small business afford the cybersecurity they need

So, how can small business afford the cybersecurity that can keep company and customer data safe and give them the platform on which to target recovery and regrowth at this difficult time?

Alternative finance can help.

In the wake of prolonged caution from traditional lenders, alternative finance facilities such as invoice finance, asset finance, peer-to-peer lending and crowdfunding are proving a vital source of capital for small businesses, both for maintaining cashflow and for essential investment. These facilities, which offer a more personalised approach to lending, are helping small businesses survive and target regrowth.

Notably, alternative lending is playing a prominent role in the government emergency support schemes, in particular the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, which is connecting firms with loan, invoice finance and asset finance facilities. This profile is helping cement the reputation of alternative finance in the business sector.

Remote-working boom makes investment in cybersecurity vital

The impact of Covid-19 on small business cybersecurity is set to be huge, not least because remote working is likely to become a more permanent fixture. Without the proper protection, firms will be highly vulnerable to potentially fatal attacks. Investment is a must and as such, owners 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 Tony Hedger on 01903 602211 or tony.hedger@atbusinessassociates.co.uk.

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