Forget Black Friday bargains – if you are a Scottish-based Small Medium Enterprise or third sector organisation the chance of getting your hands on a £1,000 voucher towards showing your business is cyber-savvy is the best deal around.
That’s according to Austen Clark, managing director of Clark Integrated Technologies, based in Aberdeenshire, who has welcomed the helping hand being offered towards achieving the National Cyber Security Centre endorsed Cyber Essentials or Cyber Essentials Plus certificates.
A £500,000 funding pot has gone live and is giving out up to £1,000 a time to qualifying organisations to help achieve Cyber Essentials certification.
90% of small business that were hacked last year said it caused damage to their brand, stopped them winning new business, or lost them clients, according to one study.*
Austen Clark said: “This is a chance to gain a government-backed, industry-supported accreditation that will help protect your organisation against common online threats.
“Some companies use the certificate as a selling point in their marketing activities, but the benefits stretch beyond this however, with many findings that they can use their new certification to target a new, more security conscious market which may have previously been out of reach.
“A growing number of organisations are seeking out partners with Cyber Essentials credentials, as they want to work with suppliers and distributors who can prove their cyber resilience and compliance. From their perspective, becoming Cyber Essentials certified means that you can be trusted.”
The UK scheme launched four years ago to help businesses protect themselves from cyber-attacks. It gives a clear statement of the basic controls all organisations should implement to mitigate the risk from common internet-based threats and offers a mechanism for organisations to demonstrate that these essential precautions have been taken.
Many companies have found that, in the process of implementing the new security procedures necessary to obtain the qualification, they find previously unknown vulnerabilities or areas for significant optimisation in their networks, enforcing a rise in cyber resilience and operating efficiency.
For businesses that hold any data, whether it is employee data, suppliers’ information or customer marketing records, the benefits of increased cyber security and data compliance make it worthwhile.
But it also means you won’t be left behind when tendering for new business – Cyber Essentials is like a badge of honour that is becoming increasingly sought after in tender processing.
As a trusted partner, Clark IT has helped scores of businesses to gain Cyber Essentials certification and is encouraging more to take up the option, especially with the grant funding, which can be applied for online.
Austen Clark added: “The scheme will run for 12 months or until the vouchers have been exhausted - so my advice is grab this while you can.”
Scotland-based small and medium-sized private sector organisations can apply via a portal on the Scottish Enterprise website https://www.scottish-enterprise.com/learning-zone/business-guides-and-webinars/components-folder/business-guides-and-webinar-listing/keep-your-business-cyber-secure
Third sector organisations can apply via a portal on the Scottish Council Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) website https://scvo.org/digital/evolution/cyber-resilience/apply-for-a-cyber-essentials-grant
A managed service provider, Clark IT helps clients achieve success through their IT and communications and has a consistently high customer satisfaction rate of over 90%. Find out more at www.clark-it.com