Source City AM : Firms urged to take Cyber Highway to avoid attacks

Lynsey Barber and Caitlin Morrison

BRITISH businesses will be given a helping hand to ensure they have the right tools for fighting cyber attacks with the launch of the Cyber Highway scheme today. Firms will be able to track how suppliers they work with are being approved for the official government stamp of approval for security standards, while businesses themselves will be able to improve their own compliance through the platform. It comes as new research reveals 92 per cent of business leaders say their firms have suffered a cyber attack in the last five years, but remain complacent about such threats: more than half are still unconcerned that they will be targeted again, according to research from Lloyd’s of London.

While the government has made significant progress to support business in the fight against cyber attacks former home secretary Lord Blunkett, now chairman of the company behind the new scheme Cyber Essentials Direct, said there is much more to do. “Government departments now require suppliers bidding for particular contracts to be Cyber Essentials certified and next month sees the launch of the National CyberSecurity Centre. These are all steps in the right direction but we can and must go further, especially to assist many more companies to become certified,” he said. “Our partners and potential partners around the world should have complete confidence that we are taking all possible steps to ensure we are securing our economy as the place to do business. Positive differentiation in the UK will be positive for us and UK plc,” he added.

Digital minister Matt Hancock last week branded the Cyber Essentials scheme “the equivalent to putting your takings in the safe and locking the door to the office” and called for more businesses to sign up. Despite complacency, businesses will soon be forced to act. Soon to be introduced European legislation will force all companies to report security breaches which put personal data at risk within 72 hours or face multi-million pound fines. The research found that more than half of the 300 business leaders surveyed admitted to knowing little to nothing about the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). “Traditionally risk has been ensuring your office is secure. It takes a lot more to understand the cyber risk perspective,” said Michael Woods, senior manager in PwC’s cyber security practice.