Cyber Security – Help To Make Your Business Safe
We spoke with a few local businesses recently and found almost every single one had been the target of some kind of online scam. Not every one of those was a cyber attack, but every business should be more aware of the threats that are ‘out there’. So we’re delighted to share news that applications are open for the Cyber Essentials Voucher Scheme. This gives companies the chance to apply for a voucher worth up to £1,000 – designed to help to improve their cyber security. CuparNow is working with Scottish Enterprise who are delivering the scheme – to amplify the message for businesses in Cupar …
The scheme isn’t just for digital organisations. It doesn’t matter what sector or type of business you run: if you’re an SME, you have a registered base in Scotland and you operate IT with a connection to the internet – this scheme is for you.
What is Cyber Essentials?
It is a UK Government backed certification (run by the National Cyber Security Centre) to deliver a simple, cost effective way for organisations to protect themselves against cyber attack, ensuring they have the controls in place to guard against the most common cyber threats, and publicly demonstrate their commitment to cyber security.
“It won’t happen to me, I’m too small.”
This is a misconception! Nearly half of all small companies suffered one or more cyber attacks in the last 12 month, and this number has already doubled since last year, so it’s a growing risk. This number included a significant amount (41%) of firms where online services is not seen as their core business. And smaller businesses are often seen as soft targets compared with larger organisations who can employ teams of people and expensive systems – so this scheme really applies to the many businesses in Cupar.
What does the voucher scheme offer?
The scheme offers a voucher up to the value of £1,000 towards the cost of preparatory support required to get up to the standard needed to achieve Cyber Essentials certification. It does not cover the cost of buying any physical IT kit – but it does cover costs associated with the accreditation itself (see below for more). Once completed successfully, Cyber Essentials gives companies a badge that you can use to publicly demonstrate your commitment to cyber security: not only does this reassure existing and potential customers that you take it online security seriously, it also acts as a deterrent so those targeting companies can see who is savvy enough to have taken the time to protect their business.
Also, Cyber security is becoming increasingly relevant where companies are bidding for procurement contracts. The Scottish Government recently launched its public and private sector action plans on cyber security. Both include actions relating to procurement that mean going forwards, cyber security accreditation will increasingly become a minimum requirement as part of the procurement criteria when companies bid for contracts.
What’s the cost?
In most instances, the voucher scheme will cover the costs involved in reaching an accredited status. It depends from where you’re starting and how much support you’ll require to get up to standard. Some might need to spend a bit less than £1,000 – some might need to spend a bit more. When you apply for the voucher, you will have an opportunity to choose a suitable supplier who can work with you on achieving the certification, and they’ll be able to provide more detailed guidance on costs. That said, there are other costs … the costs of not protecting your business can be very damaging. This is not only financial (the average cost of a cyber attack is over £1,500) but also to your operation and reputation. A whopping 93% of businesses targeted said it impacted on their ability to operate and a third said they lost clients as a result.
How long will it take?
It depends: two months is a reasonable estimate, but this can sometimes be more, sometimes less, depending on your current position – and how much time and effort you are able to dedicate to do what’s required.
OK, I’m interested. What do I do now?
When you apply for the voucher, you will have the opportunity to choose from a list of suitable suppliers who will have passed the advance status of being “Cyber Essentials Certifying Bodies”, which means they will be able to guide companies through what’s required, perform evaluations and award Cyber Essentials Certificates. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is running a parallel scheme for third sector and charitable organisations.
Thanks for reading.