CYBERCRIME presents an ever increasing threat to small businesses according the Federation of Small Businesses.

It said research, from professional services company KPMG, indicates that small business victims of cybercrime lose, on average, £4,000 and will struggle to recover, with many of them closing down within two years of the loss.

The report published earlier this year, following on from FSB research in 2013, suggests that as many as two-thirds of companies disregard the threat to their digital data and online processes.

SMEs often lack specialist staff to cover growing issues around data security, but if you get into good housekeeping habits, you will reduce the risk to your business.

The FSB has ten top tips to data security:

Identify your assets – what would a criminal target and how would they reach that target?

Stay ahead by checking government and other regulatory service websites to see what the latest threats are aiming for.

Train your staff and hold refresher session so that they remain vigilant.

Install anti-virus, a firewall, anti-malware and anti-spyware onto all of your digital devices.

If digital services are taken off-site train your staff to be vigilant and make this information part of your staff handbook.

Draft a recovery strategy to put into place should the worst happen.

Adopt a password renewal protocol for your staff – no password should last more than just a few weeks, less if the data is particularly confidential or sensitive.

Always check for ‘https://’ at the beginning of a URL before paying online.

Consider taking out insurance.

Consider the Data Protection Act – if it can be proved that you failed to protect your data you may be in breach of the Act, which carries fines starting at £500,000.

FSB development manager Neil Eames, said: “Cyber crime is a massive issue for everyone including businesses. “Many businesses simply don’t realise they are at risk and often, assume cyber criminals are only targeting banks or larger online retailers.

“The reality is that if you have an online presence, you are a target.

“It is vital that all businesses try to give time and consideration to their online and data security.

“We must keep urging small firms to take steps to combat cyber crime.”