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SMEs urged to take action against cyber crime

Small businesses are underestimating or even ignoring the threat of cyber crime, according to a government panel of technology experts.

Six out of ten small businesses have suffered a malicious breach in the past year according to figures from the government – and half of them had a serious incident.

Ed Vaizey, minister for culture and the digital economy, said: “Small businesses remain particularly vulnerable to cyber security breaches that can result in hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of damage.”

The government is working with industry partners as part of its the National Cyber Security Programme. This includes the Cyber Streetwise campaign.

“A crucial part of this programme is building awareness of cyber threats amongst our small firms, and the Cyber Streetwise campaign is doing just that,” said Vaizey. “It provides clear and easy to follow guidance to help small and medium-sized companies protect themselves from online criminal activity.”

Key threats to small firms include the use of external devices and USB sticks, infected emails and poor passwords. Best practice for IT security, as recommended by the government panel, focuses on four main action points. Small businesses should:

  • train staff to understand cyber threats;
  • keep software secure by always installing updates;
  • install and use anti-virus software;
  • use complex passwords.

SMEs can also join the Cyber Essentials scheme, which helps businesses protect themselves against cyber threats and gives them a badge to demonstrate that they meet government and industry-endorsed criteria. In addition, the Cyber Security Innovation Vouchers scheme provides up to £5,000 to invest in improved cyber security.

John Allan, national chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), said: “Cyber crime poses a real and growing threat for small firms. Many small businesses will be taking steps to protect themselves, but many others have not recognised the increasing threat and have neither adopted technologies nor strategies to defend against cyber crime. For those that don’t, the cost of cyber crime can be a barrier for growth and, in the worst cases, can put a firm out of business.”


Source: The IT Donut

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