Government Voucher Scheme To Help SMEs Defeat Cyber Attacks

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Small and medium-sized businesses to get government help to bolster their cyber defences

The government is to help small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) improve their ability to defend themselves against cyber-attacks.

It is part of governmental efforts to improve the overall resilience of the country’s digital infrastructure.

Cyber Vouchers

cyber attack (2)The new government £1m grant scheme is intended to help businesses better protect themselves. Firms can use up to £5,000 in cyber security innovation vouchers to access services from the UK cyber security industry.

But the scheme also looks to tackle a skills shortage with a new online learning and careers hub. This hub aims to ensure the UK has the cyber skills talent pool to protect both the public and private sectors. It will contain careers information and advice, internship and apprenticeship opportunities, academic and professional training courses, work experience and senior level vacancies

“We want to help protect UK businesses against cyber attack and make the UK safest place in world to do business online,” explained Digital Economy Minister Ed Vaizey. “The new voucher scheme will offer increased protection for small businesses, and the new online hub will help ensure we have the skilled workforce in place to manage the increased pressures of the digital age.”

The scheme will be overseen by the government’s innovation experts at Innovate UK. This new scheme will also help businesses to adopt ‘Cyber Essentials’, the government’s certification scheme launched in June 2014, and which is designed to help consumers establish whether an organisation has implemented basic cyber security measures.

Developed by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) a ‘Cyber Essentials’ certificate shows that the company is protected by firewalls, runs anti-malware solutions and understands the importance of frequent patching.

“The UK’s economy is increasingly underpinned by digital infrastructure, so cyber security is now a critical component,” said Kevin Baughan, Innovate UK’s Director of Technology and Innovation. “The schemes announced today will give cyber-confidence for businesses and consumers and will help our digital economy to flourish.”

Threat Landscape

The government scheme comes at a time of increasing concern at the level of cyber attacks, not just against government targets, but also many businesses and even individuals.

The government pledged last September to give a total of £4 million to small businesses so they could develop new ways to tackle cyber security threats. At that time it also appointed a cyber security small business champion, namely Andy Williams.

Earlier this year, a leading data security specialist warned that British businesses’ cybersecurity provisions were so lax, that more than half of them could be hacked in less than an hour.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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