TÜV SÜD United Kingdom has achieved Certified Body status for the UK Government’s Cyber Essentials programme, which is specifically designed to protect today’s organisations from myriad cyber security threats. Organisations certified by TÜV SÜD can promote the fact that their IT systems comply with a Government-endorsed standard, in turn demonstrating that they’re protecting both their own and their customers’ data by operating a robust and secure IT environment.
Cyber Essentials is now mandatory for suppliers of Government contracts involving the handling of personal information and the provision of ICT products and services. It will also enable organisations to prove they’ve taken the appropriate risk mitigation steps to comply with the new European Union General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Organisations proven to be in a state of non-compliance with the GDPR after 25 May 2018 could face heavy fines of up to 4% of annual global turnover in the event of any data breach.
Ewan Fisher, Shared Services Centre performance and operations manager at TÜV SÜD United Kingdom, said: “Cyber criminals target every size of organisation, both large and small. Cyber Essentials helps organisations to combat cyber attacks, the majority of which exploit basic IT system vulnerabilities. By making it easier for organisations to protect themselves, they’re then less likely to suffer data loss, which could have a significant impact in terms of lost revenue or reputation, not to mention the possibility of fines or prosecution.”
Fisher continued: “As a globally-recognised provider of independent testing, inspection and certification, TÜV SÜD is the perfect Certified Body partner for an organisation that wishes to become Cyber Essentials certified such that it can proactively demonstrate its commitment to IT security and the protection of customer data.”
Just under half (46%) of all UK businesses have identified at least one cyber security breach or attack in the last 12 months*. This rises to two-thirds among both medium-sized firms (66%) and larger firms (68%).
The Government’s Cyber Essentials programme covers five key areas:
Secure configuration: Security measures that are implemented when building and installing computers and network devices in order to reduce unnecessary cyber vulnerabilities
Boundary firewalls and Internet gateways: These provide a basic level of protection where an end user connects to the Internet
Access control and administrative privilege management: Protects end user accounts and helps to prevent the misuse of privileged accounts
Patch management: Ensures that software on computers and network devices is up-to-date and capable of resisting low-level cyber attacks
Malware protection: Safeguards against a broad range of malware (including computer viruses, worms, spyware, botnets and ransomware)
*Source: Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2017
SMEs “more afraid of cyber crime than Brexit”
UK SMEs now invest £2.9 billion every year on cyber security experts to help them stay ahead of the latest threats. This equates to an average figure of £1,600 per business, with many larger SMEs spending ten times that amount. That represents an increase of 43% over the last five years, and it’s a figure that’s expected to increase again over the next year by around 32%. These are some of the findings of new research carried out by Barclaycard.
In contrast, the demand for more ‘traditional’ experts is falling. One-in-three (33%) SMEs questioned have decreased their investment in procurement, for example, as they believe it’s becoming less relevant for their business. The 15% of SMEs who’ve cut spending on legal and compliance experts did so to make way for spending on new skills in order to future-proof their business.
With small businesses facing challenges from all directions – including an uncertain economic landscape and changing consumer preferences – more than a third (34%) are worried about their ability to manage these multiple demands and priorities as their business grows.
Such is the concern among SMEs about cyber security, for instance, that it’s a greater worry for many than the uncertainty surrounding Brexit. Four-in-ten (44%) small businesses fear being the victim of a cyber crime or data breach, compared to three-in-ten (34%) who are anxious about the impact of Brexit on their organisation.
Sharon Manikon, managing director of customer solutions at Barclaycard, told Risk UK: “UK SMEs face immense pressure to keep up with competitors of all sizes. This situation is all the more challenging in an uncertain political and economic landscape with shifting consumer preferences and new technology that continues to develop at pace. As a result, there are more demands on budgets than ever. This is forcing SMEs to spend smarter. One way to make budgets work harder is to engage suppliers who don’t just provide competitively-priced products and services, but also offer access to the specialists who offer consultancy to help businesses in continuing to thrive. This will assist SMEs in deriving the most value from their experts, in turn helping to drive their businesses forward.”