Last week saw the elections for a number of regional police Commissioners in the UK. The post requires local commissioners to tackle crime at all levels, working with the community to understand the particular threats they face.
The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has taken the opportunity to remind PCCs of the need to tackle head on the threats faced by SMEs. Specifically, that means fraud – particularly cyber-based crime – invoice fraud, trading standards violations and so on.
The FSB is especially keen to highlight the crime issues facing SMEs given recent research, which shows that nearly a quarter of smaller business owners (24%) do not report any crimes committed against their business. When asked why, most said they felt they would not see a positive outcome (46%).
“With the average cost of crime to a business now at £5,898, and instances of cyber crime on the rise, there is a real necessity to get a handle on this,” says Mike Cherry, FSB National Chairman. “Our policing manifesto ‘Tackling business crime: FSB manifesto’ is a good place for all PCCs to start. We would encourage PCCs to make contact with their local business community through the FSB and work towards forging a better relationship between police and businesses once and for all.”
Cyber threat growing
The issue of cyber crime is especially thorny for small businesses. the scope, scale and sophistication of much cyber-related fraud has increased enormously in the past few years, and many smaller firms have struggled to keep up.
New government research published today has outlined in detail the evolving nature of the cyber threat. The survey revealed that:
- Nearly seven out of ten attacks on all firms involved viruses, spyware or malware.
- Record £1.9bn government investment to protect UK but industry must act to help protect themselves
The release also announced the formation of a new National Cyber Security Centre, which will launch in the autumn 2016.
The research also shows that in some cases the cost of cyber breaches and attacks to business reached millions, but the most common attacks detected involved viruses, spyware or malware that could have been prevented using the Government’s Cyber Essentials scheme.
The FSB, among others, broadly welcomed the news that the government was beginning to get proactive in the fight against cyber crime.
“As this report suggests, smaller businesses would benefit from increased awareness of the Government’s Cyber Essentials scheme,” said Cherry.
“This can be achieved by more investment in signposting. However, while smaller firms must play their part, the responsibility for improving business resilience to cyber threats must not fall heavily on those least able to bear the burden. Government, larger businesses, individuals and providers should take part in a joint effort to tackle cyber crime and improve business resilience.