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KPMG stresses importance of cyber security for SME suppliers

Nov 06
Tags: KPMG LLP, Strategy
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KPMG stresses importance of cyber security for SME...

Failing to show a high standard of cyber security could result in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) being frozen out of the procurement process, KPMG has warned.

The consulting firm conducted a survey of 175 procurement managers from organisations across a number of sectors, all of which had over 250 employees.

Seven out of ten respondents (70 per cent) thought SMEs should be doing more to protect valuable client data and prevent cyber attacks.

Almost all (94 per cent) of those surveyed said cyber security standards were an important part of the decision to award contracts to SME suppliers.

Nearly nine out of ten (86 per cent) said they would consider cancelling a supply contract with a smaller business if that firm was targeted by hackers.

Cyber security has hit the headlines in the UK recently after telecoms firm TalkTalk announced that its website had suffered an attack. Hackers were able to access the personal details of nearly 157,000 of the company's customers.

One of the things businesses can do to show clients their data will be safe is gaining an accreditation such as ISO27001 or IASME certification.

Two-thirds of procurement managers surveyed by KPMG said they already ask for these endorsements as part of their supplier assessment.

In the absence of accreditation, 41 per cent of respondents said they would expect the supplier to pay for acquiring it themselves.

George Quigley, partner in KPMG's cyber security practice, said this is no longer just a technical concern and has become a "business-critical issue".

"Larger companies are placing an increased emphasis on the cyber security of their suppliers and increasingly the onus is on SMEs to show that they are tackling this issue head on," he added.
"Unfortunately many SMEs still take a blasé approach towards cyber security and mistakenly don't see themselves as targets of cyber criminals. Unless these organisations take a more mature approach towards cyber security now, they face the risk of being frozen out of lucrative supplier contracts."

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