cyber security awareness

Cyber threat concerns amongst European SMEs on the rise in last 12 months as over a third admit to breaches

  • One third have been impacted by computer virus attacks, yet over half (56%) say their IT security budget will not be increased this year
  • Four in ten  more worried about cyber threats than a year ago
  • Despite feeling well prepared, two thirds (68%)  lack confidence in ability to deal with the risk

Against a challenging economic backdrop, concerns about cyber threats amongst European small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) has risen significantly in the last year as they consider the impact on brand, reputation, and revenue. According to new research, nearly four in ten (37%)  are more worried about cybersecurity threats than a year ago with over a third of businesses admitting to some form of security breach.

Research commissioned by Sharp Europe - a major provider of business technology products and services to SMEs across Europe, found that around one third of the businesses revealed that their operations had been impacted by a cyber security breach. These breaches included computer virus attacks (33%), phishing (32%), malware (31%), and data loss (31%).  

In addition, over a quarter have been subject to password attacks (26%) and cloud security issues (26%). Yet more than two thirds (68%) lack confidence in their businesses’ ability to deal with and mitigate security risks. Given this, surprisingly over half (56%) of European small businesses say their IT security budget will not be increased this year.

The pan-European research surveyed 5,770 professionals responsible for purchasing IT in their SMEs, on confidence in IT security capabilities and barriers to IT security investment over the next 12 months. It found that losing money (39%), decreased customer confidence (39%), and negative impact on the brand (38%) are the top business concerns about the impact of an IT security breach.  

Colin Blumenthal, Vice President, IT Services at Sharp Europe, comments:  

“Businesses operate in a complex digital environment, which poses increasing IT security challenges for companies of all sizes. For smaller businesses, without large IT resources, the risks can feel even more daunting. Threats are constantly changing– and trying to identify and prevent them all can leave those in charge feeling concerned, confused, and frustrated.”  

“Every business, regardless of size, should do everything they reasonably can to protect their data and ensure their connectivity, whether through networks or devices, is as secure as possible. Seeking expert advice can help ensure the right IT security decisions are being made, a holistic security view is being taken, and that solutions are always up to date.”

Concern is being impacted by issues such as the rise of hybrid working (30%) and employees using their own devices (29%), whilst threats they are also worried about include; data loss, being impacted by a computer virus attack, and cloud security. Worryingly, only 52% of SMEs in Europe say they have firewalls in place, and under half (45%) have a strong password policy.  

For more insights and advice on security preparedness for SMEs, please visit our Real World Security Hub



The research was conducted by Censuswide in Q1 2023 and responded to by 5,770 IT decision makers and people responsible for purchasing IT within SMEs, from 11 countries including Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the UK.  


About Sharp Europe

Sharp Europe enables small to large enterprises and organisations to enhance performance and adapt for their workplaces of the future through a range of business technology products and services.  

Headquartered in London, Sharp Europe serves customers in the private and public sectors, Education and Government, a portfolio ranging from printers and advanced flat screen technologies, collaboration platforms, through to IT services.  

As part of Sharp Corporation, and with the backing of Foxconn, Sharp Europe is investing and leading the industry in new areas of technology that have the potential to change the world. It developed the world’s first commercially available 8K monitor and in 2019 launched the world’s first certified Windows collaboration display.