Government Announces New Measures To Boost SME Cyber Security

New Tsar And Champions Of SME Security To Help Fight Cyber Criminals

18.09.2014

Fergal Dowling, Partner | +44 (0)121 214 5476

Britain is to get its first cyber security Tsar, whose job will be to help co-ordinate efforts to ensure SMEs and other UK firms are as safe as they can be against attacks by hackers and other forms of cyber crime.

The new appointee, who will be named shortly, is one of several appointments heralded by business secretary Vince Cable at a summit of US and UK cyber security officials, which also announced plans for greater collaboration over information security between the two countries.

Among the others put in place by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) will be a cyber security small business champion, named as Andy Williams from technology trade association techUK. His role will be to get small firms to work together on security, as well as helping to promote smaller businesses in the cyber security sector on the international stage and establishing channels for business advice and information sharing about security initiatives.

Mr Williams said: "Given the rapidly evolving global cyber threat landscape, the emergence of highly innovative and agile new companies with specialist cyber capability will be vital to ensuring the future safety and prosperity of the UK. The extra funding that BIS is providing to support cyber start-ups and small business will be key to ensuring the UK’s position as a global leader in cyber security."

Efforts to boost security at SMEs will also be helped by the appointment of managing director of cyber and technology catalyst Key IQ Dr Emma Philpott, the founder of both the Malvern cyber security cluster and the UK Cyber Security Forum.

She will lead an initiative that will encourage small businesses to collaborate in regional groups, with this enabling them to speak collectively on matters of interest, as well as stay informed about major events and other developments of importance.

Dr Philpott noted that these plans have already been flagged up with many SMEs and have been met with "enormous enthusiasm", with preparations already in place to establish five regional clusters, each of which will meet up monthly.

BIS has noted the average serious cyber security breach costs a small firm £115,000, while 60 per cent of SMEs have had their security breached in the past year.

Expert Opinion
For the large majority of small businesses, an online presence is a crucial part of their armoury as they look to raise their profile but also engage with new and potential clients and customers.

"However, running and maintaining a website and various other online platforms can be fraught with potential risks, whether it be the protection of sensitive company and customer data or the need to ensure that branding and online promotions comply with relevant regulations.

"This is yet another area which demonstrates why SMEs simply should not ignore the important support that legal experts can provide to them. Advice on legal issues can mean they are wholly prepared for all of the potential obstacles or issues which might arise as their operations grow and develop.

"We would urge any company – whether online or offline – to always ensure they have the right support available to help them push on towards a successful future."
Fergal Dowling, Partner