Scottish businesses are being urged to utilise a new government-backed scheme to protect themselves against cyber threats.
They’re encouraged to check out Cyber Essentials, where they can download free information and support on cyber security, as well as apply for one of two accreditation badges which signify that their company has adhered to a government-endorsed standard.
The call follows today’s (Tuesday, September 22) Financial Times Cyber Security Europe Summit, at which Ed Vaizey, minister for the digital economy, warned businesses about the growing risk of cyber attacks and urged them to protect themselves by taking up the Cyber Essentials scheme.
According to the Department for Media, Culture and Sport, while businesses are reaping the rewards of operating online and now earn £1 in every £5 from the Internet, cyber attacks are considered a serious threat to UK businesses.
The latest figures reveal that 74 per cent of small businesses, and 90 per cent of major businesses, has had a cyber breach of security in the last year.
Speaking at today’s Summit, Vaizey revealed that more than 1,000 businesses have now adopted Cyber Essentials, which protects businesses against the most common threats on the Internet.
Intel Security, part of multinational technology firm and chip manufacturer Intel, are among the firms who have recently achieved Cyber Essentials certification.
Vaizey also announced a new £500,000 fund to help universities and colleges develop innovative ways to provide the cyber security skills needed to protect the UK now and in the future.
He said: “Good cyber security underpins the entire digital economy – we need it to keep our businesses, citizens and public services safe. The UK is a world leader in the use of digital technologies but we also need to be a world leader in cyber security.
“Trust and confidence in UK online security is crucial for consumers, businesses and investors. We want to make the UK the safest place in the world to do business online and Cyber Essentials is a great and simple way firms can protect themselves.”
Since launching the National Cyber Security Programme in 2011, Government has invested £860 million to protect and promote the UK. Based on analysis by GCHQ which showed how cyber criminals were exploiting basics weaknesses in company IT systems, Cyber Essentials sets out five technical controls which will protect firms against the majority of internet threats, like viruses, malware and hacking.
Other initiatives include a voucher scheme offering micro, small and medium sized businesses up to £5,000 for specialist advice to boost their cyber security and protect new business ideas and intellectual property.
James Stirk, regional director for government at Intel Security, said: “The Cyber Essentials programme represents another positive step forward in the Government’s proposals to raise standards of cyber security and protect British businesses from internet-based attacks. By providing organisations with the criteria and opportunity to meet basic cyber security hygiene standards, this initiative will increase confidence for businesses as well as their customers and partners.
“That’s why at Intel Security UK we are proud to be the 1,000th company to achieve Cyber Essentials certification status and we welcome this positive initiative to raise standards of cyber security across the UK.”
The firms already adopting Cyber Essentials include household names like Vodafone and Barclays and as well as FTSE100 companies including National Grid, GlaxoSmithKline, Standard Chartered Bank, Aberdeen Asset Management and Babcock International.
To develop innovative projects to improve cyber security teaching and learning, the Government is setting up a new £500,000 fund, which will be administered through the Higher Education Academy. Academic institutions can apply for up to £80,000, which must be match-funded by the institution and must generate real-world impact across the discipline. The new fund will ensure higher education students get high quality, innovative teaching giving them the skills to protect UK businesses and Government against cyber attacks.