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Technology has transformed the playing field for small and medium enterprises. But as we look towards an increasingly digital future, it's important to ensure you're protected online.

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Almost 40% of Scottish SMEs spend nothing on IT security*

We're in the midst of a digital revolution. 

Looking at cyber security is like all these things: once you get into the nuts and bolts of it, you quickly see where any weak points are, and what areas can be improved.

Ian Brooks, head of IT, Concept Consulting

By allowing us to share ideas and data, digital channels have helped to democratise business. A small, agile company can harness the speed and flexibility of ecommerce sites to build an international customer base quicker than ever before.

Scotland has particular strengths in this area, fostering ‘unicorn’ businesses like Skyscanner, which grew from a few developers and a spreadsheet to one of the world’s most visited travel websites.

And there’s more where that came from. Our digital ideas, services and products are recognised around the world. But these benefits and opportunities are not without their risks.

What’s the risk to my business?

As we adapt to a changing world, crime is beginning to infiltrate digital spaces. 

Recent research has shown that SMEs are in danger of being targeted, but that they often underestimate their risk.

Almost 40% of Scottish SMEs spend nothing on IT security*, and many manage their own IT themselves. 

This can leave companies vulnerable to leaks of valuable customer, financial and business information. 

However, it doesn't need to be this way. 

What can I do to mitigate risk?

By getting the basics right, you’ll be able to insure your business against danger. Our support can pinpoint your vulnerable areas, help you prioritise and achieve your goals.

Consider your cyber security with as much care and concern as your physical security. Passwords are locks, firewalls are fences and backed-up data is the ‘contents insurance’.

Remember, it’s all relative. You need to stay safe, but be sensible. SMEs don’t need the same level of security as banks or governments, because the risk is not the same

By using free security software, educating employees and staying mindful of online safety, companies will be better able to prevent attacks.

Encouraging good practice around password secrecy, data back-up and software updates is crucial to the success of your cyber security efforts. 

Even when businesses understand the threat, it can be difficult to get the right advice. And with the breadth of information available, it can be hard to decode and prioritise issues.

That’s where we can help.

Statistics and figures

  • 83 per cent of consumers are concerned about how companies hold their data
  • 60 per cent small businesses have had a security breach in past year
  • 55 per cent of people have the same password for personal and business use

Where can I get support and advice?

Through our cyber resilience voucher scheme, run in partnership with Business Gateway and Highlands and Islands Enterprise, we’ve been able to help a number of companies bolster their cyber security efforts. 

According to Ian Brooks of Concept Consulting, our support was crucial in helping his company start their journey.

"I guess looking at cyber security is like all of these things," he says.

"Once you get into the nuts and bolts of it, you quickly see where any weak points are, and which areas can be improved.

“Whilst hardware and various software settings are important in maintaining a secure business environment, it’s the human factors that can often bring the biggest threats. 

“The support from Digital Scotland was a real factor in deciding to press ahead...it’s a very good scheme, easy to apply for, understand and administer. 

"I’d recommend it to any small business as a good and efficient way of drawing management attention to a topic that can all too easily be put off until another day.”

How can I manage my own security?

Read our Cyber Resilience Toolkit

Got a question? Speak to your local Business Gateway, Scottish Enterprise or Highlands and Islands Enterprise adviser if you have one.

Contact us for more information 

* Karen Renaud (Do SMEs care about Cyber Security, 2016)