ISP Sky Business Warns UK SMEs Underestimate Cost of Cyber Attacks

A new Censuswide survey of 353 UK decision makers at smaller (SME) businesses, which was conducted by broadband ISP Sky Business (Sky Broadband) during April 2024, has revealed that their SecurityEdge filters blocked over 73 million malware, phishing and bot attacks in the past year. But SMEs that have yet to experience a cyberattack still underestimate the potential financial impact.

The results found that UK SMEs estimate they’d be forced to stop trading for an average of four days following a cyberattack. And of the businesses surveyed that had experienced a breach in the past, the economic loss of being offline for this time was estimated at £123,984. But for SMEs that have NOT been hit yet, they estimated that the loss would be £39,633, which is 68% (£84.3k) lower than the average of those who had experienced an attack.

NOTE: Curiously, the figure of 73 million above is significantly lower than what Sky’s website reported the prior year (between February 2021 – March 2022), when they stated that “605 million botnet, malware, and phishing attacks [were] blocked” (here).

In addition, some 16% of businesses surveyed don’t think a cyberattack would cause their business to close and, the longer a business has been running, the less likely they are to think a cyberattack would cause business closure. Some 25% of businesses which have been running for 20 years or more believe a cyberattack wouldn’t shut them down, compared to just 11% of those 1-20 years old.

Further key findings:

➤ 21% of businesses yet to experience an attack don’t think they would have to close, while 100% of those who have been victims said they would.

➤ 8% of businesses who haven’t been victims think an offline period would last 8 days or longer, compared to 24% of those who have experienced one before.

➤ Microbusinesses (those with 1-9 employees) were more likely to underestimate the impact of a cyberattack on their business, with 29% saying an attack wouldn’t cause their business to close. Only 10% of medium businesses (with 100-249 employees) said an attack wouldn’t cause business closure.

Stacey Hill, Director of Sky’s Small Business Group, said:

“The risk of cyber attacks is increasing for UK businesses. A fifth (18%) of SMEs we spoke to have already fallen victim, and research shows this figure will rapidly rise. With those previously attacked SMEs estimating average losses of nearly £31,000 for each day they are forced to close, cybersecurity must be at the top of the business agenda.”

Sky Business obviously has a vested interest here via pushing their SecurityEdge network filters, which are included as standard with their Plus package or as an add-on to their Essential or Pro packages. But despite this, the results of the survey do still help to illustrate some of the challenges involved.

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