SMEs urged to be vigilant against cyber attacks

UK Cyber security Association Lisa Ventura[2]

The UK Cyber Security Association (UKCSA), which is based in Worcester, has issued a warning to small businesses and SMEs to take their cyber security more seriously in the light of a huge rise in the level of cyber-attacks since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

During a webinar with London-based equity funding platform Stakeholderz in January, the CEO & Founder of the UK Cyber Security Association Lisa Ventura spoke about the growing cyber risk to small businesses and SMEs and provided some practical help, tips and advice to help them stay safe online.

Some of the things that small businesses and SMEs can do to help them mitigate against the growing cyber threat include:

  • Use strong passwords, change them regularly and consider implementing 2 factor authentication.
  • Use a VPN to connect to corporate or business networks.
  • Provide cyber security awareness training for your staff to help them spot a potential cyber-attack before it happens.
  • Always lock your devices when you are away from them, even if the only others in your household are family members, to prevent any access to confidential or sensitive information by mistake.
  • Back up your data regularly.
  • Install and turn on your anti-virus software to help protect your systems from malware.

Lisa Ventura, CEO & Founder of the UK Cyber Security Association, said: “The rise in the number of cyber-attacks has grown exponentially since the start of the pandemic, with 22% of all data breaches in 2020 involving phishing attacks and a 72% to 105% spike in ransomware attacks driven by COVID-19. With so many more online scams to navigate, it is important that businesses have cyber security firmly on their agenda and take it more seriously.

“2 in 5 remote workers in the UK are considered to be more vulnerable to cyber-attacks as they have not received any cyber security awareness training, and around 54% of home workers are currently operating without using a VPH, which potentially increases the risk of personal and company data of getting compromised. It is vital that businesses take some simple steps to help them be more prepared should they be hit by a cyber-attack.”

Helen Terry, Marketing and Events Manager at Stakeholderz, said: ‘’As a registered investment platform we take cyber security incredibly seriously. The data we share with investors is often sensitive, and the practical advice Lisa imparted during the webinar was invaluable to us and the startups we support. It’s vital that cyber security knowledge is shared more widely for the benefit of all small businesses, reducing the risk of an attack and the potentially devasting consequences.”

To find out more about the steps that small businesses and SMEs can take to help them stay safe online, the Stakeholderz webinar “Cyber Security 101: What Every Small Business and SME Needs to Know” can be accessed here.