UK minister urges businesses to protect themselves from growing cyber threat

Speaking at the Financial Times Cyber Security Europe Summit, Minister for the Digital Economy, Ed Vaizey, cautioned UK businesses about the growing risk of cyber attacks. The Minister also advised businesses across the country to protect themselves by taking up the government’s Cyber Essentials scheme.

Cyber attacks are now considered a serious threat to UK businesses 

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

Cyber Essentials, the UK government’s leading scheme which protects businesses against the most common threats on the internet, has been adopted by more than 1,000 businesses the Minister revealed at the conference. Intel Security, part of multinational technology firm and chip manufacturer Intel, are among the firms who have recently achieved Cyber Essentials certification.

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.

Safeguarding the digital economy

“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,” Ed Vaizey said.

Since launching the National Cyber Security Programme in 2011, the government has invested £860 million 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 £5000 for specialist advice to boost their cyber security and protect new business ideas and intellectual property.

“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,” James Stirk Regional Director for Government at Intel Security said.

“That’s why at Intel Security UK we are proud to be the 1000th company to achieve Cyber Essentials certification status and we welcome this positive initiative to raise standards of cyber security across the UK.”

Household names 

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.