The news is saturated with examples of hacking and security failures in every industry operating in the world right now, but for some reason a lot of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) don’t take the requisite steps necessary to assure their customers and clients that information is safe.

This may be because the companies that receive publicity over their hacks are larger, well known brands, but this doesn’t mean that SMEs can afford not to be vigilant. Company data is worth a lot of money to criminals, and as such there is going to be a risk. Every company needs to understand its vulnerabilities to cyber attacks, and prepare accordingly.

The UK government has suggested as many as two-thirds of SMEs in the country do not consider themselves susceptible to cyber crime. A number of myths have been propagated to support this false thesis such as the idea that only companies taking online payments are at risk, or that small companies aren’t even targets. This isn’t the case. In fact, small companies are at particular risk because they hold a lot of customer information that can be exploited.

Another somewhat unknown way that cyber crime is taking place with regard to the United Kingdom’s SMEs is through their printing networks. When it comes down to it, printing is critical to around three quarters of the UK’s businesses. This means that it is a route through which cyber-crime can take place. Some companies such as HP are creating new security in order to minimize this threat. Another option is to outsource printing and use an external supplier, like Helloprint.

The ways in which a computing network can be compromised are many. For example, jobs may be intercepted whilst they travel across a network. This is why techniques such as encryption can be so effective in dealing with cyber security threats. Despite the rise in cyber crimes, the physical theft of documents that are exposed after having been printed remains a big security risk that shouldn’t be forgotten about.

Ultimately, there needs to be a dramatic shift in the way that the UK’s SMEs look at dealing with cyber crime and the surrounding issues. Being a victim of this sort of crime can be massively damaging to a company, its employees and its customers. There are cost-effective solutions available that SMEs should take advantage of, the cyber security risks are not worth taking, and awareness needs to be raised about these issues. Only 16% of UK SMEs consider cyber security a top priority at present in 2015, and this needs to change. There is free advice available online.