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Can’t afford Covid-19 SME cybersecurity? Here’s how

Increased cybersecurity is one of the major SME digital trends for 2021 and for good reason. Employees are spending more time online using less secure devices and cybercriminals are taking advantage. In these extraordinary times, how can firms afford to invest?

Such is the prevalence of cyberattacks on businesses, large and small, that it has almost become a case or if and not when systems and services will be targeted. According to data from a PWC study, almost 60% of companies believe that they are likely to suffer an attack in 2021.

How cybercriminals are exploiting Covid-19 working conditions

With regard to SMEs, Covid-19 has further exposed an already vulnerable sector. The switch en masse to home working necessitated by the pandemic has led to lots of employees working with devices or connections that don’t offer the same level of protection as those in the workplace. Cybercriminals are pouncing on this weakness.

For example, according to data from the ESET Q4 2020 Threat Report, remote desktop protocol attacks rose by 768% between Q1 and Q4 in 2020, with the shift to home-working the primary reasons behind the huge increase in numbers.

Business owners and management are reacting – the PWC report also found that cybersecurity is now a part of half of business decisions – but it seems that there is still some way to go before employees that work at home and their employers have the level of cybersecurity they need. According to the 2020 UK SME Insurance Survey by GlobalData, less than 13% of SMEs have cyber-insurance. While the percentage is growing, from 2% in 2014, the total still feels inadequate.

Why SMEs are struggling to respond to cybersecurity threat

Of course, one the main reasons why small businesses are struggling to invest in new technology and put in place the necessary cybersecurity is cost. While an end to the Covid-19 era is in sight, conditions for these firms remain extremely challenging. Therefore, managing the cashflow and finding capital for investment couldn’t be harder.

Nevertheless, SMEs have to be protected – cyberattacks are expensive to fix and they can cause serious damage to businesses, in particular in the current climate. So, how can they afford to invest in cybersecurity?

Alternative finance can help.

Better cybersecurity and how alternative finance can help

In the wake of prolonged caution from traditional lenders, which is an issue that has again become acute in Covid-19 times, 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 easy-and-quick-to-access facilities, which offer a more personalised approach to lending, are helping small businesses survive and regrow.

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 decision-makers need to know about SME funding in 2021

One of the legacies of Covid-19 is that it has laid bare the vulnerability of SMEs to cyberattacks. While attacks on large firms grabs the headlines, cybercriminals are increasingly targeting lower-hanging fruit. As such, it is imperative that smaller firms are properly protected. To afford this, business owners need to be aware of the funding options available to them, from emergency support schemes to 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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