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How small firms can manage rising cyber-protection costs

A new year may be in sight, but an old foe continues to blight the small business sector, with new evidence that firms are struggling in the fight against increasingly determined cyber criminals. How can businesses afford to fight back?

Cyber-security is a long-standing issue for small businesses, with cyber-attacks becoming increasingly frequent and sophisticated. Firms need little reminding of the dangers of these threats. According to a new survey from Sage, nearly 50% of SMEs have experienced at least one cyber incident in the last 12 months.

What is the new cyber-threat that small firms are facing?

However, despite the rising awareness, small businesses remain vulnerable. New research from Sharp outlines a new cyber-threat, highlighting the dangers posed by the failure of firms to protect against cyber-attacks via networked devices, such as multifunction peripheral devices – more commonly know as devices that can print, fax, copy and scan documents.

According to the Sharp, one third of small businesses have no security measures in place to cover these types of multifunctional devices. At the same time, the study revealed that 16% of firms had been hit by a smart printer-related security issue.

As the data from Sharp suggests, firms are finding it challenging to put in place stronger cyber-protection. The reasons are varied, including the greater use of employee’s own devices, increased working at home, the use of older software and a lack of training on cyber-protection measures, but a common element is cost. Strengthening systems requires investment and at present, finding the capital for such measures is far from straightforward.

Cyber-security investment and how alternative finance can help

It is hardly surprising that small businesses are proving reluctant to commit significant resources to improving cyber-security systems at a time when cashflow is already under tremendous pressure, but a failure to invest carries a huge risk. There is where using alternative finance facilities can help.

Services such as invoice finance, asset finance and peer-to-peer lending are proving a vital source of capital for small businesses in the current funding climate (with 65% more SMEs experiencing difficulty in accessing finance from high-street banks as of August 2023). These facilities, which offer a more easily accessible, affordable and personalised approach to lending, are helping small businesses survive and target recovery, stability and growth.

This profile has helped cement the reputation of alternative finance in the business sector, with a new study showing that more than 50% of small businesses are looking to use finance to achieve growth in 2023.

SME finance options for boosting cyber-protection

Small businesses have enjoyed little respite this year and cyber-attacks continue to be thorn in their side. As the news on printer-related cyber-attacks suggests, firms need to invest in keeping protection up to date and as strong as possible. If they don’t, they face potentially crippling recovery costs. As such, it is vital that businesses are aware of all the finance options available, including the services of alternative lenders.

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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