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NCSC Cyber Action Plan emphasises SME security

NCSC self-assessment tool launched to help sole traders and micro-businesses tackle their cyber security challenges

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has today launched a digital cyber security self-assessment service for sole traders and micro-businesses to help the UK’s smallest businesses securely navigate the digital world.

The Cyber Action Plan forms part of the government’s wider Cyber Aware campaign, and in light of government statistics that show 46% of such organisations fell victim to security breaches or cyber attacks in the past 12 months, up from 31% in the prior year, it is much needed.

“Small businesses are the lifeblood of this country, but we know they can be a target for cyber criminals, particularly as they move more operations online,” said Sarah Lyons, NCSC deputy director for economy and society.

“Our free Cyber Action Plan is here to help, offering bespoke, actionable information linked to the Cyber Aware behaviours. If you work for yourself, or run a small business, I would urge you to spend a few minutes on the questionnaire and follow the steps to help secure your business.”

Eligible businesses are invited to complete a short questionnaire online at, that will generate a personalised list of potential actions linked to the key Cyber Aware behaviours, covering password and credential hygiene, the use of tools such as multi-factor authentication, and the importance of prompt patching and data backups. An online and radio advertising campaign will follow in March 2021.

Institute of Directors director general, Jonathan Geldart, said: “We know from our members that cyber crime is a top concern and priority for directors. The increase in flexible working patterns, which will continue beyond the pandemic, underlines the critical importance of cyber security.

“The practical support offered through the new Cyber Action Plan provides a framework for organisations to minimise the risks and recognise with confidence how and where their cyber security could be improved.”

Digital minister Matt Warman added: “We want the UK to be the best place in the world to do business online, so I welcome the NCSC helping sole traders and micro-businesses with tailored advice on defending against cyber threats.

“I strongly recommend business owners take advantage of this tool to help us build back safer from the pandemic and ensure there is no way in for hackers.

“Over the past year, some entrepreneurs have launched online-only businesses, following necessary restrictions to curb the spread of Covid-19. The Cyber Action Plan is a useful tool to help startups understand their online risk,” he said.

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