UP TO €2bn is spent by small businesses fighting crime each year -- but one in six companies have been victims over the past two years, a new survey by the Small Firms' Association shows.
Internal fraud is showing significant growth, jumping from just 3pc of crime against small firms in 2009 to 10pc in 2012.
SFA director Patricia Callan said the business community is under constant attack from professional criminals.
She said over the past two years small firms have increasingly become the victims of a range of scams, identity fraud, phishing and data theft.
And although the use of intruder alarms remains the most common security system, with nearly 81pc of firms having a system in place, the survey indicates that as crime is becoming more sophisticated, firms are putting more complex security systems in place.
"The use of CCTV has increased to just over 53pc, while the number of electronic access control systems have risen to nearly 37pc," she said.
"There is an enormous psychological price being paid by business people as crime is now more organised, more professional, more ruthless and more pervasive.
"The capital expenditure by respondents on security measures average €6,133 per company or a total investment of €2.02bn per annum for all small businesses."