#CyberSpringClean Campaign

Digital Minister Margot James

The Government is urging small businesses to protect themselves from cyber attacks by taking part in a #CyberSpringClean, implementing advice from the Cyber Security Small Business Guide

This comes as new research from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and the National Cyber Security Centre reveals that small businesses are under-prepared for cyber attacks, with only 35% of business employing staff whose job role includes internet security or governance.

In nearly three-fifths (57%)* of businesses experiencing recent cyber attacks, the most disruptive was reported directly by staff, rather than picked up automatically by software. As a result, Government is calling for more staff to be empowered by employers to become ‘cyber security champions’ and equip them with the skills to spot and prevent a cyber attack.

Having an individual whose job role includes cyber security is directly linked to a faster response. However, research shows that only 35% of businesses have staff whose job role includes internet security or governance, despite two thirds (68%)** saying cyber security is a high priority.

Upcoming research from DCMS, as part of the cross-government Cyber Aware campaign, found that many businesses (38%) believe only staff responsible for IT can protect an organisation from a cyber attack. However all staff can play a role in protecting the business and Government guidance is on offer to help. SMEs are being encouraged to implement a #CyberSpringClean ahead of the new financial year to ensure their workforce is able to raise the alarm and help prevent a cyber attack. The Small Business Guide sets out the quick and practical steps staff can take.

Cyber attacks on small businesses cost an average of nearly £900 – including everything from staff being prevented in carrying out work, to lost revenue if customers could not access online services. Research also shows that 42% of micro/small businesses experienced a cyber attack in the last 12 months.

Clare Gardiner, Director of Engagement, National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) commented, “Identifying a ‘cyber security champion’ in your company is a great way to help avoid a damaging cyber attack or data breach on your business. They don’t need to be a technical expert as we offer some great free advice in the Small Business Guide. It is important to pick the right person – for example someone who is good at motivating staff – and give them the tools and support to raise awareness and implement good cyber security measures. We’re encouraging all small businesses to use the new financial year to have a #CyberSpringClean and get staff involved with protecting the business against hackers.”

Digital Minister Margot James said, “The UK is home to millions of successful small companies but we know that protecting against cyber attacks is hard to do whilst juggling all the other issues involved in running a business. We want to make it as easy as possible for small businesses to benefit from being online and to do so safely. I would urge all SMEs to download our free Small Business Guide to help make sure that they don’t fall victim to a cyber attack.”

The Small Business Guide encourages SMEs to be cyber secure with five quick, practical, and cost-effective steps to significantly reduce the risk of becoming a victim of cyber crime:

1. Back up your data: Make regular backups of your important data, and test they can be restored
2. Install the latest software and app updates on all devices: Installing the latest software and app updates helps protect your devices from viruses and hackers as they contain vital security updates
3. Keep your devices safe: Switch on password protection for your smartphones and tablets. Use a suitable complex PIN or password which can’t be easily guessed
4. Use strong passwords to protect data: Use “two-factor authentication” for ‘important’ accounts. Avoid using predictable passwords
5. Avoiding phishing attacks: Scammers send fake emails to thousands of businesses trying to trick you out of sensitive information like bank details. Use our advice to check for the obvious signs of phishing.

Download the free Small Business Guide https://bit.ly/2ujvaI8

Pictured: Digital Minister Margot James