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How SMEs can afford to beef up their cyber-security

While it’s the high-profile cyber-attacks that are grabbing the headlines in 2021, small businesses remain a major target as cyber criminals exploit weaker cyber-security systems. The big question is, how can these firms afford to beef up their security?

Microsoft, Acer and Bombardier have all been among the large companies targeted by cyber-attacks in 2021 and while the figures involved, in terms of data exposed and ransoms paid, are eyewatering, these corporations have the resources to manage such a hit. SMEs don’t have the same luxury.

Attacks on small businesses may not involve the same numbers, but they carry a much greater risk. The damage done to reputations and the costs involved, including repair bills and ransom payments, have the potential to bankrupt these firms. According to a poll, over one million SMEs are likely to go bust if they are forced to deal with the average cost of a cyber-attack.

The impact of the pandemic and what SMEs can do

Notably, the pandemic has only made smaller businesses more vulnerable to cyber-attacks. The large-scale shift to home-working and the use of non-secure personal technology and devices has left firms critically exposed, while the economic impact of Covid-19 has shrunk the capital available for investment in cyber-security.

The lifting of restrictions and the gradual return to offices is lessening this type of use, but a significant number of workers are still working remotely. If a firm doesn’t ensure that remote workers are using properly protected hardware and software, then they are highly vulnerable.

The problem is that this protection comes with a price tag and at the moment, SMEs are struggling to find the means to invest as they focus on recovery and regrowth. So, how can smaller firms afford to strengthen their cyber-security and properly defend themselves against potentially business-ending cyber-attacks in the current climate?

The services of alternative lenders can help.

SME cyber-security and how alternative lender services can help

With regard to alternative finance, in the wake of prolonged caution from traditional lenders, which is an issue that has returned during the pandemic, services such as invoice finance, asset finance and peer-to-peer lending, are proving a vital source of capital for small businesses, both for maintaining cashflow and for essential investment.

These facilities, which offer a more easily accessible and personalised approach to lending, are helping small businesses survive and target recovery and regrowth.

Furthermore, alternative lending is playing a prominent role in the government’s headline emergency support scheme, the Recovery Loan Scheme (open until the end of 2021). Invoice finance and asset finance between £1,000 and £10 million per business are available under the initiative. This profile is helping cement the reputation of alternative finance in the business sector.

Investing in better cyber-defences and SME finance options

Finding the capital right now to invest in beefing up cyber-security is an incredibly difficult proposition for smaller businesses that are still fighting for survival. But it is a step that must be taken. This is why it is vital that business owners are aware of all the finance options available to them, from government emergency schemes and the services of high-street banks to alternative finance facilities.

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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