UK SMEs are more concerned about the risk of being hit by cybercrime than they are about the implications of Brexit or the political environment, according to a new survey.
The annual Hopes and Fears Index, produced by Barclays Business Banking, found that SMEs rated cybercrime alongside inflation as the biggest potential risks to the growth of their business over the next twelve months.
While 43% of businesses identified fear of inflation as the greatest threat, a significant 41% of those surveyed named the risk of cyberattack as their major fear for 2018. By contrast, issues related to Brexit and how it will affect the UK economy were a concern for only 35% of SMEs.
The report reflects a growing awareness of the risk of cybercrime among SMEs. Last year, a report by Zurich found that thousands of SMEs had been the victim of cyber crime, with free website creation software identified as a particular risk. That report also showed that over half of the UK’s SMEs spent less than £1000 annually to protect themselves from cyberattack.
While the findings show that fear of cybercrime is growing among SMEs, according to the Chief Executive of Barclays Business Banking, Ian Rand, the report also shows the extent to which the nation’s SMEs have embraced new IT and e-commerce
“Compared with a year ago, more think these developments will have a positive impact on their business. From our work with small companies, we see them making more use of data and online services.”