Small firms at risk from hackers

Small and medium-sized companies have been warned to ‘wake up’ to the risk of internet fraud and computer hackers.

Web-related risks such as viruses, information misuse, and libel also have the potential to cost business millions of pounds.

In a survey of 500 senior managers, 62 per cent said that they had not considered insuring themselves against these types of risk. If they did, they would not consider spending more than a couple of hundred pounds on it.

Meanwhile, 61 per cent of small businesses said that they did not have a ‘firewall’ in place to protect against intrusion, and 76 per cent said some systems have virus protection software installed, but not all.

“The complacency of small to medium-sized businesses towards system-related risk gives serious cause for alarm,” said David Walsh, managing director of insurers

“Businesses need to understand what web-related risks actually are, what steps they need to take to protect their business, and why they need to insure themselves adequately.”

The Clickforcover survey also highlighted a potentially dangerous lack of awareness among SMEs. Some 41 per cent of the senior management were not aware of their legal liabilities in relation to the internet on their business. Only 12 per cent of SMEs said they were concerned that email was legally binding, and only 10 per cent said they were concerned about employee misuse.

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