£500,000 funding for Cyber Essentials certification now available to Scottish charities and SMEs

Charities and SMEs in Scotland can now apply for up to £1000 in funding to help them protect their businesses against cyber attacks through Cyber Essentials certification.

The Scottish government has provided £500,000 in funding for the Cyber Essentials scheme through the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations. According to the Scottish government, cyber security is particularly important for the charity sector, with one in five UK charities having reported a cyber breach, but only a quarter of charities investing adequately in their cyber security.

With around 24,000 registered charities and an estimated 345,915 private sector businesses operating in Scotland (99.3% of which are small to medium-sized), competition for the funding will be fierce.

Why should I apply?

According to Ponemon and Keeper Security’s latest cyber security report SMEs are increasingly facing the same cyber threats as larger organisations.

The report indicates that the average number of individual records breached by SMEs in a 12-month period now stands at 10,848.  The associated financial damage can be significant, making recovery challenging.

The biggest challenge faced by SMEs is simply not having the resources to mitigate cyber risks, vulnerabilities and attacks (7%), with 55% also having insufficient budget and 47% having no understanding of how to protect against cyber attacks.

Fortunately, The Cyber Essentials scheme is an effective assurance mechanism that has been developed in consultation with SMEs to be light-touch and achievable at low cost (prices start at £300). The scheme can help businesses to win and maintain government contracts, is endorsed by the NCSC (National Cyber Security Centre), assists organisations in taking steps towards GDPR compliance and crucially enables all organisations to protect against 80% of the most common cyber attacks.

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The SBRC (Scottish Business Resilience Centre) is now urging Scotland-based SMEs and third-sector organisations to apply.

Graham Bye, Scottish Cybersecurity Information Sharing Partnership (CiSP) and Cyber Essentials coordinator at SBRC, said: “All businesses and organisations, no matter how small, are a potential target, particularly if they do not take simple precautionary measures to protect themselves. Having a Cyber Essentials badge shows your customers and clients that you take cyber security seriously and that you can and will protect your organisation against common cyber threats.”

Don’t miss out – how to apply

Charities and SMEs can apply for funding up to 18 December 2018. Applying is easy and takes just a few minutes.

To be eligible, you must be an actively trading small or medium enterprise with fewer than 250 employees, have a registered base in Scotland and an IT connection.

To apply, simply go to the Scottish Enterprise website, tick the boxes to confirm that you meet the criteria and fill in your contact details.

How we can help

IT Governance is a CREST-accredited Cyber Essentials certification body with an office and team in Edinburgh serving the Scottish market.

We provide all the tools and resources needed to achieve CREST-accredited certification of the Cyber Essentials scheme, and we also deliver all the technical tests and assessments, which are conducted by our experienced, CREST-accredited testers. We do not outsource any of the services required to achieve certification.

You can conduct the entire certification process online, without any expert cyber security knowledge, via our Cyber Essentials portal.

Most importantly, by choosing a CREST-accredited certification body such as IT Governance, you will receive the added reassurance of having your cyber security status independently verified through an external vulnerability scan.

With our DIY package starting at just £300 (ex VAT), get in touch with us today to begin your Cyber Essentials certification journey.

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