Press release

UK businesses urged to protect themselves from growing cyber threat

Research shows 90 per cent of businesses had security breaches in the last year

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UK businesses were today warned about the growing risk of cyber attacks as Minister for the Digital Economy, Ed Vaizey, urged businesses across the country to protect themselves by taking up the Government’s Cyber Essentials scheme.

Whilst businesses are reaping the benefits of operating online and now earn £1 in every £5 from the Internet, cyber attacks are now considered a serious threat to UK businesses. The latest figures reveal that 74 per cent of small businesses, and 90 per cent of major businesses, has had a cyber breach of security in the last year.

Speaking at the Financial Times Cyber Security Europe Summit, the Minister revealed more than 1,000 businesses have now adopted Cyber Essentials – the UK Government’s leading scheme which protects businesses against the most common threats on the Internet. Intel Security, part of multinational technology firm and chip manufacturer Intel, are among the firms who have recently achieved Cyber Essentials certification.

Speaking at the conference, the Minister also announced a new £500,000 fund to help universities and colleges develop innovative teaching and learning to provide the cyber security skills needed to protect the UK now and in the future.

Digital Economy Minister Ed Vaizey said:

Good cyber security underpins the entire digital economy – we need it to keep our businesses, citizens and public services safe. The UK is a world leader in the use of digital technologies but we also need to be a world leader in cyber security.

Trust and confidence in UK online security is crucial for consumers, businesses and investors. We want to make the UK the safest place in the world to do business online and Cyber Essentials is a great and simple way firms can protect themselves.

Since launching the National Cyber Security Programme in 2011, Government has invested £860m to protect and promote the UK. Based on analysis by GCHQ which showed how cyber criminals were exploiting basics weaknesses in company IT systems, Cyber Essentials sets out five technical controls which will protect firms against the majority of internet threats, like viruses, malware and hacking.

Other initiatives include a voucher scheme offering micro, small and medium sized businesses up to £5,000 for specialist advice to boost their cyber security and protect new business ideas and intellectual property.

James Stirk Regional Director for Government at Intel Security said:

The Cyber Essentials programme represents another positive step forward in the Government’s proposals to raise standards of cyber security and protect British businesses from internet-based attacks. By providing organisations with the criteria and opportunity to meet basic cyber security hygiene standards, this initiative will increase confidence for businesses as well as their customers and partners.

That’s why at Intel Security UK we are proud to be the 1,000th company to achieve Cyber Essentials certification status and we welcome this positive initiative to raise standards of cyber security across the UK.

The firms already adopting Cyber Essentials include household names like Vodafone and Barclays and as well as FTSE100 companies including National Grid, GlaxoSmithKline, Standard Chartered Bank, Aberdeen Asset Management and Babcock International.

In order to develop innovative projects to improve cyber security teaching and learning, the Government is setting up a new £500,000 fund, which will be administered through the Higher Education Academy. Academic institutions can apply for up to £80,000, which must be match-funded by the institution and must generate real-world impact across the discipline. The new fund will ensure higher education students get high quality, innovative teaching giving them the skills to protect UK businesses and Government against cyber attacks.

Notes to editors

Press Office

  1. Further information on Cyber Essentials, including the scheme documents and an online tool to help businesses assess themselves, is available online.

  2. Cyber Essentials certificates are awarded by one of the four Accrediting Bodies, which are CREST, Information Assurance for Small and Medium Enterprises (IASME) Consortium, QG Management Standards and APMG.

  3. The Cyber Security Innovation Vouchers scheme offers small and medium sized businesses (0 - 250 employees) a voucher of up to £5,000 to buy-in specialist advice/consultancy to improve the business’s cyber security. This can include, as part of a wider package of advice/support, application for a Cyber Essentials certificate. The scheme is administered by InnovateUK, the UK’s innovation agency, and is open until 12 noon on 20 October 2015. More information can be found online along with details of other Innovation Vouchers.

  4. The new £500,000 grant will be administered by the Higher Education Academy (HEA), a UK-based organisation responsible for enhancing teaching and supporting learning in higher education. Details on how higher education providers can apply for the scheme will be published on the HEA website.

  5. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport’s work on cyber security is funded by the cross-government National Cyber Security Programme, a five-year programme launched in 2011 and backed with £860m investment to protect and enhance the UK in cyber space.

Published 22 September 2015