More than 150 SME businesses from across Greater Manchester are now part of a free cyber resilience programme to help them combat the ever-increasing threat of cyber fraud and cyber attacks.
The North West Cyber Resilience Centre (NWCRC) launched the Business Resilience Programme last year with funding to support 300 SMEs across Greater Manchester to access training and resources aimed at protecting their businesses and educating business owners against cyber attacks. The NWCRC is a not-for-profit venture, bringing together academia, private sector, public sector and leading cyber organisations and is headed up by seconded police officers.
Detective Superintendent Neil Jones, managing director of the NWCRC, said: “We’re really pleased to see so many businesses take up the offer of supported cyber-training to help them fight back against this growing threat.
“Any type of cyber attack can affect a business’s ability to run its operations, and can easily spell the end of a business. There are numerous ways that business owners can protect themselves from this attack and train their employees to be aware of the multiple ways criminals can target businesses.
“Every single company should run regular cyber health checks as a standard procedure – much like having an emergency plan for fire – and ensure their employees have proper training.”
Connor Gurney, CEO of the Gurse Collective, was one of the first businesses to complete the programme and said: “All of our staff received security awareness training delivered by the centre, providing them with the skills to identify, challenge and report security threats, complementing our own in-house training.”
“We now also receive regular intelligence briefings from the NWCRC which, alongside other open-source intelligence, support us in carrying out regular threat assessments.”
The Government’s Cyber Security Breaches report 2022 found that cybercrime affects over 39% of UK businesses and 31% of businesses estimated they are attacked at least once a week. While the average estimated cost of all cyberattacks in the last 12 months has fallen to £4,200, for medium and large businesses, the figure rises to £19,400.
The Business Resilience programme is the first of its kind from the NWCRC, and has now achieved 50% of its goal of helping 300 businesses within Greater Manchester, with 150 spots left up for grabs. The programme is scheduled to run till August 2023.
The NWCRC was set up in Greater Manchester in 2019 as a pilot scheme to support businesses in the region with the growing threat of cyber crime and cyber fraud.
It was so successful that it was expanded for the North West region and then also rolled out to other regions across England and Wales and included in the HM Government National Cyber Strategy 2022. The NWCRC now has over 400 members and continues to grow year on year.
The CRC’s Business Resilience programme includes training for two employees on protecting a business from cybercrime, multiple resources plus one-to-one consultation with cyber security experts. The funding comes from money seized from criminals under the Proceeds of Crime Act to fund crime reduction activities, and the programme has been commissioned by Greater Manchester Police (GMP).
To find out more about this programme, and to apply, visit: https://www.nwcrc.co.