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Over Half A Million SME’s Have Experienced A Cyber Security Breach


Research on the impact of cyber security breaches among UK SMEs and self-employed has been revealed.  The insight by Market Direct reveals that cyber-crime continues to be a major concern, with 51%  of respondents experiencing a cyber security breach.

In a survey that polled 1000 respondents, Markel Direct explored the issue of cybercrime and its impact on the self-employed and SMEs. The survey found the most common cyber security attacks were malware/virus related (24%) followed by a data breach (16%) and phishing attack (15%), with over two-thirds (68%) reporting the cost of their breach was up to £5,000.

This comes after the latest Quarterly Fraud and Cyber Crime Report revealed that Britons lost over £1 billion in the first six months of 2021, due to the considerable increase in fraudulent activity.

Markel Direct’s survey also explored the measures SMEs and the self-employed were taking to protect against cyber-crime. 88% of businesses had at least one form of cyber security in place (such as antivirus, firewalls, or multi-factor authentication), with 70% feeling fairly confident or extremely confident in their cyber security arrangements.

Of the respondents who did not have cyber security in place, cost was the main reason behind this, with 11% of respondents stating that they wouldn’t spend anything on protection.

Rob Rees, Director of Direct and Partnerships from Markel Direct, said

“Cyber-attacks on the largest corporations are often headline news, especially in consideration of some of the major breaches that have happened over the last few years to well-known businesses and local authorities. However, SMEs and the self-employed are also at risk, and the consequences can be devastating to smaller businesses that may not be able to recover from the financial impact of a cyber-breach, or losing the trust of their customers.”

Breaches on SMEs and the self-employed not only affect the security of their data, but can also have a significant financial impact through legal action that could be taken by third parties and interruption to business activities.

Rees continued:

“Cyber criminals often target the self-employed and SMEs, as they lack the resources that large businesses have to invest in cyber security. SMEs and the self-employed who become targets of a cyber-attack can end up facing financial and operational consequences, of which some may never recover from. Though the costs of cyber security and cyber insurance may seem unnecessary to some businesses, the true cost of reported losses across the UK that we were able to highlight in our study shows the impact it can have.”

The Markel Direct study also looked further into the full extent of cyber-crime across all UK business types, the regions most affected and the importance of cyber insurance, which you can read more about here: