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A new study has revealed that over one million UK small businesses would be likely to go under should they be hit by cyber criminals, leading to calls for the government to invest more in defence systems.

Vodafone commissioned this study, and over 500 owners of small firms were interviewed for it. The results show that 1.3 million of them, amounting to roughly one quarter, would expect to be put out of business if cyber criminals successfully targeted their data. The primary reason why it would have such a catastrophic impact on so many of these firms is the cost of recovering from it.

A further 16% of those companies that took part said that the cost of such an attack would result in them having to let employees go. For these reasons, the report is urging the government to spend what is necessary to make sure businesses’ cyber defences are able to withstand attacks by hackers.

Among the measures that it wants the government to adopt is for the existing National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) to add a specific corporate cyber security department that would focus on this.

A step that small firms themselves can take is to hire a small business accountant in Goole or any other region to handle their finances. That would reduce the amount of sensitive information they need to store on their own systems.

The report also suggests that small firms could be given a reduction of 5% on the VAT for cyber security products.

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