16 Oct 2018 11:52 AM

Today the National Cyber Security Centre released its Annual Review for 2018 detailing its activities and achievements for the last year as well future plans.  With videos and podcasts to bring some of the points to light (these can be accessed through the ‘Digital Annual Review’ version) the report makes fascination reading and I urge anyone with an interest in Cyber Security to read it!

Usually news around cyber security is full of doom and gloom, so it was good to read something that bucks the trend and reminds us, that despite the challenges we face, we are very well protected in the UK.  It’s still clear that there are many threats and the NCSC and similar organisations face a massive task.  They have made tremendous progress in two short years they seem to be on the path to achieving their bold stated aim of making the UK the safest place to live and work online.

The aspect of the report that struck me was its emphasis on people. ‘The NCSC’s single greatest asset is our people’ shouts the report.  It’s easy to assume that cyber security is reliant on the latest technology and keeping programs and equipment up to date but behind the scenes talented and knowledgeable people are needed to implement these systems.  An organisation’s Cyber Security effectiveness is reliant on those running it.  The NCSC has been at the forefront of promoting this message.  From posts on social media through to producing their helpful Small Business Guide the NCSC has achieved engagement across the board, with Government organisations, with small businesses and with individuals.  There is no doubt they are working hard on strategies to help everyone enhance their systems or online habits to protect themselves against cyber attacks.

My overriding message for small and medium sized businesses; just like the NCSC, your best line of defence against cyber threats or any type of fraud is your people.  If your employees are not aware of the threats or unaware of how to react should they discover an attack or a fraud, then how can you rely on them to help keep your organisation safe?  It’s a question posed time and time again and the answer’s the same; time and investment in the training of staff.  This does not have to be costly, there are plenty of inexpensive and easy ways to educate your people about Fraud and Cyber Security awareness. 

The NCSC has invested heavily in the education and training of the next generation of cyber security specialists through their CyberFirst programmes, ensuring their future and that of the country remains resilient against cyber attacks.  I would advise today’s business owner to look to the future and just like the NCSC, focus on investment in people.