SMEs advised to protect themselves as cyber-attacks rise

New warning comes as government unveils National Cyber Security Centre

BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT is warning SMEs to make security a top priority. The Institute is committed to minimising online crime and threats. It is part of the Get Safe Online initiative which provides practical advice and education demonstrating what businesses can do to stay safe online. It follows the government launching its new National Cyber Security Centre this week.

David Evans, Director of Policy at BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT explains: “In the age of digital services it is vital that SMEs find the best ways to keep the hackers at bay. SMEs often get overlooked as they don’t necessarily have an IT department to support this. However, there are still some simple, but effective steps that they can take to stay safe.

“Attacks can arise from a wide variety of sources including human error, a deliberate attack by an outsider or a malicious attack by a disgruntled member of staff. The IT team may well set out the security policies, but it’s really important that everyone plays their role in implementing these simple measures.”

The Institute has some top tips for SMEs to understand the action they can take:

  • Implement a password policy that demands strong passwords that are at least 12 or more characters
  • Ensure there is an adequate security policy in place.
  • Encourage staff to think before they click, understand how to identify phishing and spam emails and know how to handle them
  • Deploy firewalls within your network
  • Subject your network to a penetration test
  • Deploy a proxy server between internal and external network resources
  • Secure your wireless routers
  • If you’ve been breached, destroy at-risk data or equipment
  • Ensure operating systems are regularly updated and staff know how to implement the updates
  • Know your data responsibilities and ensure employees understand their role, BCS Personal Data Guardianship Code can help with this:

For businesses looking for more help, the Institute has a complete guide to security available free of charge at: and for more information visit Get Safe Online