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Many small businesses could face collapse due to security risks

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(Image credit: Image source: Shutterstock/Ai825)

More than a million small and medium-sized businesses (SMB) in the UK would be forced to shut up shop in the event of a cyberattack.

This is according to a new report from Vodafone, which asserts that many companies cannot afford to absorb the costs associated with addressing a cyberattack.

Polling more than 500 business leaders for the report, Vodafone found that almost a quarter (1.3 million companies) would not be able to survive such an event. A further 16 percent would be able to survive the attack, but at the expense of their workforce, as some would have to lay off staff in order to cover the costs.

To make matters worse, SMBs are facing an increasing number of cyberthreats. The report states that almost a third experienced an increase in attacks since lockdown was first introduced a year ago. These attacks cost the UK economy more than $47 billion.

In the report, Vodafone urged the UK government to invest in strengthening the country's cybersecurity posture, as the safety of SMBs is crucial to the country's post-pandemic economic recovery.

Among the suggestions, as City AM reported, are the proposed expansion of the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), as well as a five percent VAT cut on cybersecurity products for small companies.

Simon Fell, chair of the all-party parliamentary group on cybersecurity, said the report showed that “businesses often lack awareness of the cybersecurity risks they face, the protection they need to mitigate them, and the resources to withstand them”.

“SME cybersecurity is not a prosaic issue facing a few journeymen trying their hands at a new business during the pandemic, but rather an issue of national economic resilience,” he added.