Two-thirds of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) could be putting themselves in serious danger of falling victim to a cyber attack because they significantly underestimate their exposure to these issues.

This is according to new research by YouGov on behalf of Keeper Security, which revealed 66 per cent of companies with fewer than 500 employees don’t believe they will fall victim to a cyber attack.

However, the facts do not bear this out. Indeed, previous research from Keeper found that, in reality, 67 per cent of businesses have faced an attack in the last 12 months. This points to a severe perception gap, with only around one in ten small firms (12 per cent) recognising that attacks are very likely, no matter the size of the company.

In truth, SMEs may be more likely than their larger counterparts to fall victim to an attack, as they will often have less sophisticated defences. 

Keeper Security noted six out of ten respondents (60 per cent) stated they did not have any prevention plans in place to guard against cyber attacks, while a quarter of those surveyed admitted they would not even know where to start when it comes to improving their security.

Darren Guccione, chief executive and co-founder of Keeper Security, said there is a “vulnerability crisis” among small businesses, which will not improve until firms make security a higher priority.

He added: “Our Cyberthreat Study findings show that many companies don’t know where to start with cybersecurity prevention and even more don’t think they will fall victim to an attack, but it’s time they dramatically change their perspectives and put a plan in place.”

At present, fewer than one in ten leaders at SMEs (nine per cent) rank security as the most important aspect of their business, compared with recruitment, marketing, sales, quality of internal tools, and contributing to social good, while almost one in five (18 per cent) placed it as the least important of these six factors.

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