The number of targeted cyber attacks on businesses with 250 or fewer employees rose from 18% in 2011 to 36% in 2012, according to a recent intelligence report from software company Symantec. Meanwhile, the number of attacks on large companies has dropped.
Why? Cyber criminals are focusing on small businesses because they are easier to hack, as unfortunately all too many small companies believe that the data they hold will be of little use to criminals. But it's not necessarily your data the criminals are interested in - it's that of any larger businesses you supply or work with.
Hackers use your network as a portal to access bigger companies you work with - so if you're not digitally watertight, you risk exposing all your clients and suppliers to data leaks and cyber threats.
"It seems attackers are diverting their resources directly from large businesses to smaller ones," says Paul Wood, cyber security intelligence manager at Symantec.
"You do not want your business to be the weakest link in the supply chain." Information is power, and the attackers know this, and successful attacks can result in significant financial advantage for the cyber criminals behind them. Access to intellectual property and strategic intelligence can give them huge advantages in a competitive market."
You really don't want to be the reason a client gets hacked by these increasingly sophisticated criminals, many of whom are part of an organised crime network.
The results from Symantec's intelligence report showed that one in every 209.9 email in the UK was identified as malicious. Even letting your staff log onto the companies wifi through their own devices can be harmful. It can allow criminals to sidestep security measures that you have in place.
Sorry if we're sounding so stern, but we think it's something that small business should be aware of as the potential cost of seeing your customers information stolen is a hit from which a small business is unlikely to recover.
Please comment below if your business has been targeted by cyber criminals and let us know your experience.
So what should you do to protect your business, and those that you work with? A good place to look for more information and find out what type of security might best suit your business is, www.getsafeonline.org also check out our guide on keeping your data secure by clicking here.