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How SMEs can afford home-working cyber-security costs

With the campaign to get people back to the office now parked, there is a renewed focus on ensuring that employees can work from home safely and effectively. This puts a spotlight on home-working cyber-security and how small firms can afford to put in place the necessary protection.

The introduction of new Covid-19 restrictions has, for now, put an end to the push to get employees back behind their workplace desks. As a result, a significant number of people will continue working from home and this means that businesses will continue to be at an increased risk from cybercrime.

Cyber-criminals have increasingly targeted smaller firms in recent years, in part because of the lower levels of cyber-security that these companies have. One of the reasons why security is weaker is the costs associated with strengthening protection. As a result, the widespread switch to home-working has left small businesses particularly vulnerable to cyber-attacks.

Home-working and how smaller firms are at greater risk

New research from Marsh Commercial has revealed that over a third of employees in the UK could be putting their employers at risk of a cyber-attack because of insufficient information and training about cyber-security risks.

Tellingly, data from Verizon has shown that almost 30% of data breaches so far in 2020 have involved small businesses, while a study from NordVPN claims that many small businesses are the least prepared for cyber-attacks. Notably, according to the GlobalData 2020 UK SME Insurance Survey, the uptake of cyber insurance among SMEs remains low, at less than 13%.

These figures are a major concern for small businesses, not least because the consequences of a cyber-attack can be fatal. Research by the National Cyber Security Alliance has found that 60% of small businesses go bust within six months of suffering a cyber-attack.

Raising capital for cyber-security and how alternative finance can help

As such, it is imperative that small businesses put in place strong cyber-security infrastructure and protocols not only in the workplace but also for home-working employees. However, investment in training, hardware and software comes at a cost. Finding the capital at a time when they are battling for survival is a major challenge for small business owners.

So, how can they afford the cyber-protection they need for home-workers?

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 safeguarding cashflow and for essential investment. These facilities, which offer a more personalised approach to lending, are helping small businesses survive and grow.

Tellingly, alternative finance is playing a key role in the government’s Covid-19 business support strategy, in particular with regard to the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, which offers access to a range of finance facilities, including alternative finance services.

What small firms need to know about finance options

With a larger amount of home-working set to be a short-term phenomenon and a long-term trend, it is critical that small businesses invest in ensuring that their remote cyber-security infrastructure is strong.

To do so, owners need to be aware of all the funding options available to them, from emergency support schemes to the services of alternative lenders.

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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