Small businesses are collectively subject to almost 10,000 cyber-attacks a day, according to new findings from the UK’s largest business group.

Research from the Federation of Small Businesses show that 20 per cent of small firms have been the victim of a cyber-attack in the past two years.

More than seven million individual attacks are reported over the same period, equating to 9,741 incidents a day.

The annual cost of such attacks to the small business community is estimated to be £4.5 billion, with the average cost of an individual attack put at £1,300.

Victims are most frequently subject to phishing attempts, with 530,000 small firms suffering from such an attack over the past two years.

Hundreds of thousands of businesses also report incidences of malware (374,000), fraudulent payment requests (301,000) and ransom-ware (260,000).

Martin McTague, FSB policy and advocacy chairman, said: “These findings demonstrate the sheer scale of the dangers faced by small firms every day in the digital arena.

“The issue of business crime is overlooked too often – even more so of late in this climate of sustained political uncertainty and inaction. Meaningful steps must be taken to safeguard our small firms, and by extension the wider economy.”

One in three small firms (35 per cent) say they have not installed security software over the past two years.

Four in ten (40 per cent) do not regularly update software, and a similar proportion do not back up data and IT systems.

Fewer than half (47 per cent) have a strict password policy for devices.

Rob Lister, managing director of Lister Unified Communications, said: “Keeping pace with the ever-changing threat landscape is a real issue for all of us.

Rob Lister, managing director of Lister Unified Communications

“It is almost the case that there are only two types of companies: those that have been hacked and those that don’t know they have been hacked.

“The old days of waiting for it to break and then fixing it just doesn’t work anymore. Businesses should now be looking to work with IT partners who can provide proactive network support and disaster prevention.”

Lister unified Communications can assist your business with enhanced security, continuous monitoring, regular testing, regular firmware and software updates as well as regular password changes – so that changes can be made before a potential problem occurs.

For information on how Lister can help you protect your business from cyber threats, email or call 01453 829 200.