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Small firms are at risk of disclosing their financial statements to unauthorised parties due to a lack of IT security, KPMG says.

A global study carried out by KPMG found 87 per cent of those firms surveyed had suffered security breaches in the past year.

According to KPMG, small businesses could be at risk of disclosing financial information such as balance sheets and profit and loss accounts to parties outside their company.

“Many businesses are failing to determine the level of risk they are exposed to, and are unsuccessful in identifying the security weaknesses within their IT systems and management practices,” KPMG says.

The study discovered that many small firms had implemented a single layer of protection such as a firewall. But multiple security mechanisms and appropriate management practices are needed, it points out.

KMPG notes the difficulty in finding specialist security skills across many areas and many small businesses tend to employ general IT staff or one IT manager who lacks a broad range of security skills.

Instead, KPMG recommends small firms should consider increasing their range of security skills available within their IT departments or alternatively outsource their IT security to ensure the right skills are on tap.

“Most organisations are over confident in the measures they use to protect themselves – the most successful adopt a layered security approach using a series of overlapping controls.

“Each control might only be 50 per cent effective but three or four of them working together can produce a greater level of security than one control can, even one that is 80 per cent effective,” KPMG said.

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