'Cyber Action Plan' to help increasingly digital small businesses stay secure from rising threats

26 Feb 2021 02:27 PM

As part of the Cyber Aware campaign, a self-assessment tool for sole traders and micro businesses has been developed.


Bespoke advice to help small businesses combat rising online threats is being offered through a state-of-the-art digital tool launched today (26 February) by the UK’s leading cyber security experts.

As part of the cross-government Cyber Aware campaign, GCHQ’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has created the Cyber Action Plan to help micro businesses and sole traders securely navigate the increasingly digital landscape they operate in.

The government’s most recent Cyber Security Breaches Survey found that almost half of micro and small businesses reported cyber security breaches or attacks in the past year. 46% were victims of these cyber incidents – up from 31% the previous year.

To help increase their digital defence, micro businesses and sole traders are being invited to complete a short questionnaire at www.cyberaware.gov.uk that generates a personalised list of actions linked to the Cyber Aware behaviours.

Matt Warman, Digital Infrastructure Minister recently said:

“We want the UK to be the best place in the world to do business online, so I welcome the NCSC helping sole traders and microbusinesses with tailored advice on defending against cyber threats.

“I strongly recommend business owners take advantage of this tool to help us build back safer from the pandemic and ensure there is no way in for hackers.”

NCSC Deputy Director for Economy and Society, Sarah Lyons recently said:

“Small businesses are the lifeblood of this country, but we know they can be a target for cyber criminals, particularly as they move more operations online.

“Our free Cyber Action Plan is here to help, offering bespoke, actionable information linked to the Cyber Aware behaviours.

“If you work for yourself, or run a small business, I would urge you to spend a few minutes on the questionnaire and follow the steps to help secure your business.”

The government is committed to supporting UK businesses and the NCSC has published advice and guidance to support organisations of all sizes, including how they can securely move their physical operations online and safely scale-up home working.

Earlier this week, the Minister for Digital Infrastructure, Matt Warman, the NCSC’s Director of Policy and Communications, Nicola Hudson, and Deputy Director for Economy & Society, Sarah Lyons, hosted an industry roundtable with businesses and industry bodies to discuss the Cyber Aware campaign and the cyber security practices of the UK’s small businesses.

Over the past year some entrepreneurs have launched online-only businesses, following necessary restrictions to curb the spread of COVID-19. The Cyber Action Plan is a useful tool to help start-ups understand their online risk.

Jonathan Geldart, Director General, Institute of Directors recently said:

“We know from our members that cyber-crime is a top concern and priority for directors. The increase in flexible working patterns, which will continue beyond the pandemic, underlines the critical importance of cyber security.

“The practical support offered through the new Cyber Action Plan provides a framework for organisations to minimise the risks and recognise with confidence how and where their cyber security could be improved.”

Advertisements promoting the tool will be broadcast on radio and seen online from the March 5 2021. These adverts will direct people to cyberaware.gov.uk – the home of the Cyber Action Plan.

Cyber Aware is the government’s advice on how to stay secure online, offering six actions people can take to protect themselves from the majority of cyber crime. It can be found at www.cyberaware.gov.uk.

The launch of the Cyber Action Plan follows a report from the Centre for Economic Performance, which found that more than 60% of UK businesses have shifted to working via new technologies since the start of the pandemic.

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