Small firms are failing to protect themselves from the growing threat of cybercrime, despite almost half being hit last year, according to new research.
A survey of 250 businesses by Barclaycard found that only one in five see cyber security as a top business priority, while one in 10 have never invested in improving the security of their website.
This is despite only one in six being confident they have adequate measures in place to prevent cybercrime.
Almost half (48 per cent) said they had been hit by at least one cyber attack in the past year, with 10 per cent experiencing more than four. Sixteen per cent admitted that they only reviewed their cybersecurity once they had become the victim of an attack.
Barclaycard said cybercrime costs small businesses an average of between £75,000 and £311,000 in lost sales, business disruption, recovery of assets, fines and compensation.
Paul Clarke, product director at Barclaycard, said: "Businesses of all sizes face a constant and growing threat from cybercrime. As our research shows, many small businesses are failing take the necessary precautions, either because they don't know how to protect themselves or, more worryingly, because they don't think they need to.
"Cybersecurity is not a one-off investment that can then be forgotten about, especially as criminals are becoming increasingly sophisticated in the way they target businesses."