'Cyber Essential' advice for the small business

cyber essentials

Small businesses, indeed businesses of all sizes for that matter, continue to face critical business challenges whether due to the economy, changes to regulations or financial issues. One challenge that never goes away, is how to keep information secure, in an ever-changing world.

Our recent Clearswift Insider Threat Index (CITI), revealed that companies are aware that the threat of a cyber-attack looms large, with 40% of firms expecting a data breach within the next 12 months. This highlights awareness that security threats are a very real issue, however, understanding that you are at risk of an attack is one thing, dealing with it can be daunting; particularly if the business owner or senior management don’t understand the impact of the threat. 

Fortunately, there are organisations out there taking steps to help small businesses become as secure as possible. For example, the UK Government has recently launched its Cyber Essentials scheme, a certification initiative that sets out a baseline of cyber security best practice, suitable for all organisations.  This certification provides:

  • a simple platform for businesses to target to its data protection and security compliance requirements;
  • a good standard for good cyber security practice as set by the government;
  • a clearer guide as to the basic security protocol;
  • defined targets to benchmark compliance progress;
  • credibility for the business in terms of their overall compliance regime.

 A business case presented to the business stakeholders that includes certification should help you articulate how cyber security could and should be managed; plus it will help you demonstrate compliance with the law! Businesses should feel more confident that compliance with government backed standards will help with compliance with the pending new European Data Protection Regulation. The heavy fines likely to follow this new law through breaches of data protection and security requirements could be devastating for small businesses. 

However there is no quick fix to making sure a business’s data is completely secure, but by using credible sources of best practice and guidelines supplied by organisational bodies such as the government, companies can feel confident that they are moving in the right direction to compliance. Don’t expose your company to the risk of huge fine, embarrassment and reputational damage. Be smart; start by asking yourself if you are taking the right steps to being a safe and secure organisation? Then take action. Today.

By Debbie Evans, Clearswift Legal & Commercial Director