Reviewing Cyber Security Essential Says IT Firm

Reviewing Cyber Security Essential Says IT Firm

With online attacks on UK businesses at their highest ever level, independent IT company Converged Communication Solutions is encouraging organisations to review their cyber security strategies as part of a government-backed initiative.

Last week, the Scottish Government formally launched details of its £500,000 Cyber Essentials voucher scheme, which had previously been announced in September.  It provides small and medium-sized organisations with up to £1,000 of funding to encourage them to improve their data protection measures through the UK-wide Cyber Essentials programme.

Converged, which has offices in Aberdeen and Inverness, has positioned itself to deliver the advice and guidance that organisations require in order to achieve Cyber Essentials certification, while making efficient use of the available grant funding.

Led by the UK Government, Cyber Essentials is designed to protect organisations from a range of common online threats and demonstrate their commitment to cyber security.  The scheme’s overall aim is to increase the digital resilience of organisations across the country.

Cyber crime costing billions annually

Reports have estimated that cyber crime costs the UK economy over £6billion annually – a value that could grow as more devices become connected to the Internet globally.  Currently there are an estimated 11 billion Internet-connected devices around the world.  With the advent of driver-less vehicles and the expansion of smart home and building automation technologies that number will increase, highlighting the need for improved cyber security.

In recent years cyber security has become an issue of national importance, with the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) being established in 2016 as part of GCHQ.  Last month, the NCSC revealed that over the past two years it has helped defend the UK from an average of 10 cyber attacks per week.  In his recent budget the chancellor announced additional funding to help strengthen the country’s cyber security.

Risk mitigation

Converged, which specialises in providing Internet connections, telephone systems and IT support services, can assist organisations in implementing the requirements of the Cyber Essentials standard prior to an assessment by an awarding or certification body.  It audits an organisation’s IT systems and equipment, and information compliance processes against 170 criteria to identify cyber security risks, before resolving them or putting in place steps to mitigate them.

Achieving Cyber Essentials certification – which is renewed annually – illustrates that an organisation has good digital security practices, providing reassurance to customers that it is working to secure IT systems and their data against cyber attacks.

Earlier this year the Scottish Government released its cyber resilience strategies for the private and third sectors, which followed a similar action plan – released in November 2017 – for the public sector.  The strategies state that the online threat is assessed as a tier 1 threat to the UK’s national security and that for UK organisations it is a major and growing threat.

Both documents have been produced to create a common, Scotland-wide approach to cyber resilience in order to assist all sections of society and business in being digitally safe and secure.  The Cyber Essentials voucher scheme, which is being administered by Scottish Enterprise, offers small and medium-sized third and private sector organisations savings of up to £1,000 to help protect themselves against cyber attacks and achieve the NCSC’s Cyber Essentials certification.

Not merely an IT issue

Neil Christie, managing director of Converged, said: “As technology becomes increasing intertwined with our lives, cyber security is an issue that every individual and business must take seriously.  We have all witnessed, and some have experienced, the impact that online attacks can have, therefore we must all take steps to protect ourselves.

“Cyber security goes beyond virus protection or merely being an IT issue.  Instead it is a company wide operational matter that involves senior management.  It is about being prepared, ensuring compliance, looking at how risks can be reduced, identifying any weak points and therefore limiting potential impacts.  The Cyber Essentials certification can do this, helping guard against most common digital threats and demonstrating an organisation’s commitment to cyber security.  We can support organisations in taking steps now that will be beneficial in the longer-term.”

Recently launched Cyber Essentials Voucher Scheme

New recruits

Neil Christie, Managing Director