You are here

Cyber Aware Blog

< Back to all posts

Are you doing enough to protect your business in 2016?

27th November 2015 | Cyber Aware
Are you doing enough to protect your business in 2016?

Cyber Streetwise has been consulting with business leaders at the recent Cyber Streetwise Forum event on the importance of making cyber security a core part of business strategy in 2016.

With more cyber attacks hitting the headlines than ever before, the pressure for small businesses to keep their data secure is understandably increasing. However uncertainty around what steps to take means that many small business owners ignore the issue until they are forced into action, by either becoming, or knowing, a victim of cyber crime.

Matthew Gould, Director of Cyber Security and Information Assurance at the Cabinet Office, said: “We are living in an increasingly digital economy but many people just don’t think about cyber security until it affects them personally. As well as advice specifically targeted to SMEs on Cyber Streetwise, a raft of practical guidance is also available on GOV.UK for businesses of all sizes. If businesses aren’t already signed up to the Cyber Essentials scheme, they should do so.”

The Forum highlighted the need to increase the barrier to entry for cyber criminals on both personal and business devices. Data is becoming increasingly mobile, with figures from the FSB indicating that mobile connectivity is ‘vital’ to 70% of small business owners. However it seems that people don’t exercise the same caution on mobile devices as they do on computers, meaning any information stored on, or accessible by, the device is at risk. 

“We have seen an increase in malware targeting mobile devices, however people often don’t transfer their thinking around how they behave on a laptop or computer to how they use their mobile devices” said Carla Baker, Senior Government Affairs Manager at Symantec. “Remember that just because you can’t see your data being hacked or malware attacking your machine, that doesn’t mean it’s not happening.”

Despite this need to improve best practice when it comes to online security, the Forum revealed that SMEs continue to find it hard to navigate what they perceive as a highly complex and intangible subject, with small business owners often turning to their accountants or bank managers for advice. However according to the Forum, small businesses should start by taking simple steps. “Many small businesses think cyber security is ‘scary’ and they don’t know where to go - so they don’t do anything” commented Emma Philpott, who runs IASME, a small business itself that is an accreditation body for the Cyber Essentials standard. “But if you can do one thing better today, you’ll be more secure than you were yesterday!” 

John Allan, National Chairman for the Federation of Small Businesses, said: “To grow their business and reach new markets, small businesses want to embrace the opportunities a digital world provides. Recent FSB research shows that 66 per cent of small firms already trade online or want to do so. However, greater use of technology also means greater vulnerability to digital threats. With the nature, scale and costs of cyber security breaches escalating, small businesses need simple, straightforward cyber security advice like that provided by Cyber Streetwise. We would like to see more small businesses making the most of going digital, using the resources available to keep their businesses safe and secure.”

Cyber Streetwise is encouraging small businesses to do three simple things to improve their online security: