UK manufacturers wary of cyber crime threat

Almost a fifth of SME-sized UK manufacturers have suffered an online security breach in the last 12 months, a new survey has revealed.

66% of manufacturing business owners polled in the Close Brothers Business Barometer, a quarterly poll of SME owners and senior management, described themselves as “very concerned” about the impact this type of crime could have on their business.

While 61% of manufacturing firms surveyed said that protection against online crime was a high priority and that they have invested in this area, almost a fifth admitted that although they believe it to be an important issue, they haven’t yet looked into it.

Steve Gee, managing director of the Manufacturing Division at Close Brothers Asset Finance said the issue of cyber crime is inhibitive to future business growth.

“Cyber crime, including data corruption, hacking and virus infections, can prove to be a major barrier to growth for small manufacturing firms,” he said.

The Department for Business, Innovation & Skills recently estimated that this kind of attack costs the targeted company an average of £35,000 to £65,000, and Mr Gee added that this has a further impact.

“Clearly, this money could be much better spent investing in people, processes and equipment for growth. There could also be a wider impact on the economy, as smaller firms may decide against embracing new technology and trading online due to fears about cyber security,” he added.