Cyber attacks now a reality - 74% of SMEs suffered a security breach in the last 12 months

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Scotland’s SMEs should upgrade their online security in the wake of the high-profile hacking of one of the UK’s largest telecommunications companies, according to a north-east network security specialist.

4MS Network Solutions says if it can happen to a company the size of TalkTalk, then it raises questions over the safety of smaller firms.

The details of more than 150,000 customers were accessed in the cyber attack on the company last month. By failing to secure its network ahead of time, TalkTalk estimates the lost sales and cost of reacting to the incident could total as much as £35million.

It is not just prominent companies in the public eye which are targeted by hackers. A survey commissioned by the UK Government earlier this year found that 90% of larger organisations and 74% of SMEs suffered a security breach in the last 12 months.

It also found that the average cost per breach is increasing rapidly. For the larger companies targeted, between £1.46million and £3.14million had to be spent on resolving the issue – more than double the average cost in 2014. Meanwhile small businesses had to pay £75,000 to £311,000, up from an average of £65,000 - £115,000 a year ago.

However, the costs of being able to secure a network from attack are much lower and not prohibitive, even for a smaller company.

Hugh Mackay, director of 4MS Network Solutions, said: “The potential for a cyber attack to disrupt a company is now greater than ever. 

“As firms look to expand their network with mobile connectivity, cloud services and the Internet of Things, they also increase the possible points of infiltration for hackers.”

To ward off the threat of a cyber attack, 4MS provides cyber security assessment services and a range of anti-malware and firewall services alongside enterprise network solutions.

As a sensor, the network offers visibility into unknown devices, unusual traffic patterns and unexpected behaviour to help detect a potential intruder. 

As an enforcer, it contains an attack by separating it from the rest of the system, limiting the damage that can be done if a hacker does manage to get in. 

And as a mitigation accelerator, the network can roll out security updates to all machines at once rather than one at a time, reducing any potential temporary vulnerabilities of the system. 

Hugh added: “With the costs of a cyber attack always rising – both financially and in terms of customer and employee trust – it is crucial that firms re-assess their network security now, before it may be too late.”

4MS Networks in conjunction with Cisco are running two security events on the 3rd February 2016 in Aberdeen. The morning event will be a technical briefing and the afternoon event is for management to gain an understanding of the current threats their business is exposed to. For more information on these events please email Graeme Coghill gcoghill @

To find out more about 4MS Network Solutions or cisco products and services, visit the company’s website or call +44 (0) 1224 825 088.

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