Small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) across Scotland are being given an opportunity to enlist the services of an industry expert to assist them with cyber security.
A Cyber Resilience Voucher Scheme has been launched by Digital Scotland Business Excellence Partnership, formed of Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Business Gateway and the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities. The value of the voucher is up to £1,500 per company.
So far, 80 applications have been received with another 120 still available.
Cyber resilience helps businesses achieve Cyber Essentials, an accreditation scheme which is increasingly becoming a requirement in the procurement of products and services. A toolkit is also being developed that will help businesses to easily access the information on how to get the basics of cyber resilience right.
The Federation of Small Businesses found that 3 out of 10 members have been a victim of cyber crime, which costs to the UK economy £27,000 million per annum. SMEs are currently putting a third of revenue at risk because of common misconceptions around cyber security, leaving them vulnerable to losing valuable data and suffering both financial and reputational damage.
Paul Foley, project manager at Scottish Enterprise, said:
“All citizens and businesses are a potential target of a cyber attack, particularly if they don’t take simple precautionary measures to protect themselves. Any company reliant on computerised systems for payroll, marketing via social media or a website, booking systems, customer databases, including payment details or any Intellectual Property or Patent information that could be of value is at risk. A business does not need to be specifically targeted to become a victim; cyber criminals constantly scan websites, systems and devices to detect vulnerabilities. Therefore, if you are not taking the appropriate steps, you will flag up as an easy target during this scanning process.”
Paul Foley, project manager at Scottish Enterprise, added:
“This voucher gives businesses one-to-one access to a cyber security expert to safeguard the business and its customers. On completion, the systems will be compliant with the Cyber Essentials Standard”
The scheme is already proving beneficial to businesses.
Nick Cohen, Founder & CEO of bizanywhere, commented:
“We embarked upon Cyber Essentials for a number of reasons. As an IT services company it’s important to us to lead by example. Security is often a lower priority as most of our clients are busy, growing businesses. Cyber attacks are increasing, with a number of companies of all sizes suffering when an attack takes them down."
To be eligible for the voucher, SMEs have to be based in Scotland and have a relationship with Business Gateway, Highland and Islands Enterprise or Scottish Enterprise.
The application can be accessed via business contacts at these three organisations.
The deadline for applications is January 2017.