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FSB calls for government aid in SME cybercrime fight

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has called for the Government to play a more active role in the fight against cybercrime, by making cyber insurance compulsory for SMEs.

Following internal research that revealed only six per cent of small businesses are currently protected from cyber-attacks, the FSB urged the Government to make specific cyber insurance a legal requirement for businesses above a certain size - or those that are in specific high-risk sectors.

The report surveyed 1,000 FSB members and found that small businesses in the UK suffer from around 7 million cyber-attacks each year. More disturbingly, two-thirds of respondents said that they’d been a victim of cybercrime within the last two years.

Matt Cullen, head of strategy, the Association of British Insurers (ABI), said: “The Government could provide some valuable help by heeding our call for an anonymized database of cyber incidents so the sector can more effectively underwrite risk and help the market grow, to offer ever better products to businesses of all size.”

The industry body also called for the Government to encourage more digital training amongst SMEs, in order to enhance awareness of the digital world and the inherent risks involved in it.

Andy Thornley, corporate affairs manager, Biba, said: “Collectively, the government and insurance industry recognise the take-up of cyber insurance products is low in the UK compared with other countries such as the US - particularly for SMEs.”

Businesses in the UK increasingly rely on technology and even relatively mundane technology can have a major impact. Indeed, a survey this week revealed that small businesses could lose as much as £12,000 per day if forced to go without their mobile devices.

This is especially the case with very small businesses, who the survey revealed would miss out on an average of four new business opportunities each day if the mobile was out of action, with each missed opportunity having an average value of £3,000. 

Two-thirds (67 per cent) of small business owners and employees surveyed said that their mobile phone is an essential part of running their organisation and mobile phones are just the tip of the technology iceberg for small businesses.

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