£1m cyber security scheme for SMEs announced

posted by 4 years ago in News

Is the threat of a cyber-attack on your business keeping you awake at night? SMEs can now access up to £5,000 for cyber security through a brand new scheme that’s been announced by the Government.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport have launched a host of support measures aimed at improving the way that SMEs manage online security.

What help is being provided?

The new £1m cyber security support package includes:

  • An online learning and careers hub

The “Inspired Careers” hub has been set up in response to, what ministers see, as an increased threat to online security for SMEs. It’s a UK cyber security talent pool that also offers advice and training to staff as well as vacancies and internship opportunities. It’s been jointly developed by industry body CREST and the Government.

  • A voucher scheme offering UK SMEs up to £5,000 for specialist advice

Aimed at protecting new business ideas and intellectual property for SMEs, the scheme will be overseen by the Government’s innovation experts at Innovate UK. Firms will be able to use this financial support to access services from the UK cyber security industry as well as being given help with protection against cyber-attacks.

  • Help to adopt Cyber Essentials

This is the Government’s flagship online business protection scheme. It’s claimed it will increase cyber-confidence within UK SMEs.

Cyber breaches

A whopping 60 per cent of small businesses fell prey to cyber breaches in 2014, according to a Government report. It’s claimed to have cost them on average between £65,000 and £115,000.

Speaking at the Reform “Cyber Security: assurance, resilience, response” conference in London, Digital Economy Minister Ed Vaizey said:

“We want to help protect UK businesses against cyber-attacks and make the UK the safest place in world to do business online. The new voucher scheme will offer increased protection for small businesses, and the new online hub will help ensure we have the skilled workforce in place to manage the increased pressures of the digital age.”

Skills shortage

With the UK cyber security industry being hailed as strong and growing – worth £17.6bn and employing more than 40,000 people – Government ministers are eager to prioritise this area of expertise. However, they’re keen to stress that it is under threat and that many more skilled people are needed to protect businesses in the public and private sector as new technologies emerge.

Kevin Baughan, Innovate UK’s Director of Technology and Innovation said:

“The UK’s economy is increasingly underpinned by digital infrastructure, so cyber security is now a critical component. The schemes announced today will give cyber-confidence for businesses and consumers and will help our digital economy to flourish. The UK now has the opportunity to become a world leader in cyber security, creating the jobs of tomorrow and driving productivity and growth.”

So how can you access this help for your business?

  • The Inspired Careers website can be found at inspiredcareers.org.
  • Access to the Government funding vouchers can be found via the Innovate UK website. Guidance for eligibility is outlined on the site as is the application process. There is also a helpline on 0300 321 4357 or you can contact an adviser by email:competitions@innovateuk.gov.uk.
  • The Government has produced a cyber-security guidance document for small businesses.

Just how damaging can a cyber-attack be to a business? Here are five famous hacks that caused wide-ranging damage:

  1. The most recent high profile hack was that of the infidelity dating site Ashley Madison. The details of 33 million user accounts were published on the web. 300 gigabytes of data was reported stolen as well as more than 197 thousand emails leaked from the chief executive’s work account.
  2. Embarrassing memos, corporate secrets and employee details were all exposed when Sony Pictures’ fell victim to, what’s been claimed to be, a revenge hack following the making of The Interview, a Seth Rogen movie about killing dictator Kim Jong-Un.
  3. UK government PCs were hit particularly hard by the largest computer worm in history. Conficker attacked tens of millions of Windows PCs in more than 200 countries. The automatic spread worm disabled security software and system services.
  4. Data was stolen from nearly every US government agency in a cyber-attack they believe was carried out by Chinese hackers. Personal information for four million current and past employees was potentially stolen.
  5. Millions of eBay customers were put at risk of identity theft after the site was hacked in 2014. The names, email and postal addresses, phone numbers and dates of birth of its 233 million users were stolen.