The South West Cyber Resilience Centre (CRC) is being launched as part of a Home-Office funded national programme which seeks to protect SME’s from cyber crime. It will cover the policing areas of Avon and Somerset, Devon and Cornwall, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and Dorset.
The CRC is a not-for-profit limited company, and will be a partnership between policing, the private sector, and academia. It is now able to offer services, with a free core membership providing guidance and regular updates via the website.
Almost half of businesses (46%) report being subject of attacks or breaches in the last twelve months, and the trend is increasing. This isn’t just about business with an online presence: it’s about anyone who might keep their customer lists, order details or financial records on a computer, because losing those records can be really challenging. But simple steps can prevent cyber attacks from being successful.
Businesses can engage CRC support in several ways. Core membership is free. It delivers a welcome pack which introduces a number of National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) products to help people understand and reduce their cyber risks. It also generates contact from the centre, and further updates on new threats as they emerge, so that you can be aware and stay safe.
There are further levels of optional paid membership which offer a menu of benefits, such as staff training, discounts on services, detailed briefings, etc.
Should a business decide that it needs more tailored advice and support, the centre is able to offer various services to report on and reduce individual risk factors. This could include a review of company policies/ practices, or internet research into potential attack vectors for a cybercriminal. These services are provided through a network of university students working in the area, and subject of appropriate vetting/ accreditation/ oversight. This provides expertise at lower cost than would normally be achievable, and also helps develop a pipeline of local talent.
If more detailed consultancy is required, the CRC can signpost businesses to a network of ‘trusted partners’, who have achieved a level of technical competence which certifies them to deliver IASME accreditation – IASME being the recognised NCSC partner which oversees standards of information assurance for small and medium enterprises.
The overall attraction to business comes from the not-for-profit structure and the reassurance that this is a policing/ private partnership. It provides a degree of assurance and accessibility in an area where standards can be opaque, costs can be off-putting, and it is sometimes unclear where to begin. The centre aims to respond to business need, and as a partnership, is keen to hear from regional business at all levels and to tailor its offer accordingly.
Company structure and funding
The company is partly funded through board members who pay an annual contribution to operating costs. They are likely to be sizeable regional businesses who are motivated by a corporate social responsibility agenda, by reputational advantage, and by protecting their supply chains within the region.
An advisory group is constituted beneath this: likely to include smaller business and umbrella organisations representing business and third sector interests. A number of trusted partners are engaged from the tech arena who can provide cyber consultancy. As previously mentioned, these are recognised by IASME.
Other funding is brought in through the provision of services, and is spent on staffing costs and on events to increase business engagement with cyber threat.
For further details or to register for free, we can be contacted via our website or by direct email to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com .