New research reveals potentially thousands of businesses in Wales have little or no cyber protection

  • With the majority of businesses moving online during the Covid pandemic, many small businesses now need to consider their cyber security risk
  • Announcement follows UK government’s Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2022 which says 48 per cent of small firms reported cyber security breaches or attacks in the past year
  • New research comes as BT announces new free tools to keep small businesses safe online

BT estimates thousands of small firms in Wales could be leaving themselves open to cyber-attack because they have little or no business-grade cyber security measures in place, according to new research it has commissioned.

The survey of businesses decision makers has found that many small firms may be at risk – despite having security measures in place – because they are relying on security products which are not designed for business use.

With the majority of small firms moving online during the pandemic, opportunistic cyber criminals have also stepped up their efforts to target them. The UK Government’s recent Cyber Security Breaches survey found that almost half of all UK small businesses suffered a cyber security breach or attack last year.

However, despite the increased threat, BT’s latest research reveals overall, 35% of micro businesses (1-5 employees) in Wales do not have the right level of cyber protection in place and are relying on security products which are designed to protect consumers rather than businesses.

The survey also found 6% of SME businesses in Wales aren’t using any cyber protection at all, with this figure being even higher (17%) for micro businesses across the UK, i.e. those with 1-5 employees. From this data, BT estimates thousands of businesses across the UK do not have any cyber protection in place and require more support to help keep them safe online.

BT, a leader in cyber security with 3,000 experts across the globe, has enhanced its cyber protection for small businesses by introducing new online tools and advice led resources to help small businesses better protect themselves from online attacks. The development comes as its research found that more than half (55%) of SMEs which lack cyber protection believe their business isn’t big enough to be targeted by cyber criminals, revealing that many remain complacent around the risk of attack.

 

Sam Toombs, BT’s director of corporate and public sector in Wales, said: “There has been a huge shift over the past two years in the number of small firms in Wales [24%] moving more of their business online. While that’s a really encouraging trend, being an online business can also bring its challenges, particularly around cyber security.

“Any digital business, large or small, can be a target for cyber criminals, and this is something we’ve seen during the pandemic. And while consumer-grade products are great for protecting you while surfing the web, accessing emails and other personal use, they’re not designed for running a business which requires more robust protection and safeguards.

“It’s clear that our smallest firms need more support in this area, so today we’re launching new free cyber security tools for our BT business broadband customers, together with free online advice to help upskill small businesses on how to stay safe online.”

Small businesses can now benefit from free BT Content Control and BT Web Protect included as standard with their BT business broadband, providing built-in protection to keep their business safe online. BT Content Control works by allowing the customer to configure their web traffic according to the categories they wish to block or allow, while BT Web Protect warns the customer if they are trying to access suspicious URLs which could carry harmful malware.

BT is also offering Business Antivirus Protection, provided by McAfee, giving small firms business-grade device security to protect multiple devices from the latest online threats using email, web, and firewall protection.  This can be purchased by BT customers placing orders for business broadband, mobile, or as stand-alone from just £4.99 per month, which covers up to five desktop devices plus unlimited mobile devices, including tablets.

Alongside the new online tools, BT has launched the next phase of its ‘The Future is Now’ campaign with a focus on helping businesses to stay safe online, featuring advice-led content from partners such as the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC). A new interactive tool developed by BT is also available online to help small businesses spot cyber threats in workplace scenarios and learn how to combat them.

Small businesses can also gain access to cyber security guidance from BT’s Skills for Tomorrow programme, with free webinars on topics such as how to spot attacks and how to avoid opening risky files or visiting phishing sites.

 

*Methodology: The research commissioned by BT and conducted by Opinion Matters, among a sample of 1,000 Decision Makers in UK based businesses with 1-500 Employees. Minimum 100 in Wales; 100 in Northern Ireland and 100 in Scotland – including 827 respondents from SMEs. The data was collected between 11.03.22 – 16.03.22. Opinion Matters abides by and employs members of the Market Research Society and follows the MRS code of conduct which is based on the ESOMAR principles.

 

  • Business Antivirus Protection (powered by McAfee) Business Antivirus Protection offers business grade anti-malware and anti-phishing protection, alongside a vulnerability scanner, firewall protection and anti-spam functionality to block junk email. Businesses can purchase one license from just £4.99, which covers up to five desktop devices – plus unlimited mobile devices including tablets. Access to one dashboard means businesses can manage multiple devices at ease across IOS, Android, Windows and Mac OS, with the flexibility to add up to 25 devices.
  • BT Web Protect helps to prevent infection from viruses, scams and phishing attacks by warning the user if they’re about to visit a harmful website, whenever they’re browsing online using their BT Business Broadband connection. In effect, should customers try to access a potentially harmful site they will be presented with a ‘splash page’ warning them that the site could be harmful and presenting them with a “yes / no” decision for whether they wish to proceed to the website or not.
  • Content Control is a configurable service, allowing business customers to choose the categories of web traffic, they would wish to block, or allow. The service also comes with pre-set filter levels: light, medium, and strict; for those customers who might want to want to customise the service.

The new tools form part of BT’s wider cyber security portfolio, with other solutions on offer including Secure Business Backup by Acronis, which securely backs up and encrypts files up to 10 workstations with a single easy-to-use interface – all while actively protecting a business, with built-in cybersecurity and AI-learning.

To find out more businesses can visit: business.bt.com/cyberSME

 

About BT

BT Group is the UK’s leading telecommunications and network provider and a leading provider of global communications services and solutions, serving customers in 180 countries. Its principal activities in the UK include the provision of fixed voice, mobile, broadband and TV (including Sport) and a range of products and services over converged fixed and mobile networks to consumer, business and public sector customers. For its global customers, BT provides managed services, security and network and IT infrastructure services to support their operations all over the world. BT consists of four customer-facing units: Consumer, Enterprise, Global and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Openreach, which provides access network services to over 650 communications provider customers who sell phone, broadband and Ethernet services to homes and businesses across the UK.

For the year ended 31 March 2021, BT Group’s reported revenue was £21,331m with reported profit before taxation of £1,804m.

British Telecommunications plc is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BT Group plc and encompasses virtually all businesses and assets of the BT Group. BT Group plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange.

For more information, visit www.bt.com/about

 

 

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