Entrepreneurial Britain and Vodafone to bring expert cybersecurity guidance to SMEs

Partnership will run initiatives and events throughout the year to support SMEs with cybersecurity concerns

Small and medium enterprise (SME) community network, Entrepreneurial Britain, has teamed up with Vodafone to provide expert cybersecurity guidance to its SME members.

Vodafone has been providing expert cybersecurity services to enterprises since 1989, and earlier this week issued a report calling for Government to consider new cybersecurity policies to support the SME sector. In particular, the report called for the introduction of a reduced 5% VAT rate on cybersecurity products to ensure they are accessible to the UK’s small and medium-sized enterprises community, alongside additional resources for the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) to support the economic recovery of SMEs.

The report also recommends that the next National Cyber Security Strategy should include a section on SME protection, given that remote working poses extra risks, the Government should consider additional funding for the NCSC to expand a dedicated unit for cybersecurity for business, the Government should commit an additional 5% to the National Cyber Security Strategy budget to support the delivery of local cybersecurity skills and training and that we should invest more in cybersecurity product development.

Through this partnership, Vodafone will help Entrepreneurial Britain’s community of over 50,000 SME business leaders navigate the risks posed by cyber-attacks to ensure small businesses are better protected online. This is particularly vital given the rapid adoption of remote working, and many business owners taking their operation online for the first time.

Vodafone’s cybersecurity report highlighted how vital it is that SMEs are aware of the increased risks they face from cyber-threats and have the tools and support to protect themselves. The report found:

  • 4 in 10 SMEs (41%) had experienced some form of cyber-attack in the previous 12 months, with 20% experiencing six or more attacks.
  • 31% said that they had seen an increase in cyber-attacks since the UK went into lockdown in March 2020.
  • 23% of SMEs, roughly 1.3 million companies, said that an average cyber-attack costing £3,230 would destroy the business.

Anne Sheehan, Director, Vodafone Business UK, believes cybersecurity is just as much an issue for small companies as it is for big companies, and that Government cyber policies should reflect this.

A worrying number – 1.3 million – say they wouldn’t be able to continue operating if they were the victim of a successful cyber-attack. And yet nearly a third of SMEs [Small and Medium-sized Enterprises] report seeing a rise in the number of attacks during the pandemic.

Given that cyber-attacks were estimated to be costing the UK economy £34bn before COVID struck, we can assume this cost is even higher now. So this is a matter of national economic importance.

As part of the partnership, Entrepreneurial Britain and Vodafone will host a virtual panel discussion on Cybersecurity in the New World of Work. The event will feature industry experts including Richard Merrygold, Managing Consultant & Data Protection Officer at iSTORM and Victoria Guilloit, Partner at Privacy Culture, discussing key risks for SMEs with BBC Cyber Correspondent Joe Tidy.

The event takes place 18 March at 2:30pm – SMEs can sign up here to attend.

The partnership will run further initiatives and events throughout the year to support SMEs with their cybersecurity concerns.

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