A UNIQUE voucher scheme has been launched to help smaller firms and third sector organisations fight cybercrime by securing nationally-recognised accreditation.

Cyber Essentials is a baseline standard in cyber security, endorsed by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), that helps prevent the most common attacks by implementing five basic network controls and practicing good cyber hygiene.

Now the Scottish Business Resilience Centre (SBRC) is urging Scottish-based small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), along with voluntary and community organisations, to apply for vouchers up to £1000 to help them finance the certification, as part of a £500,000 Scottish Government investment initiative.

Graham Bye, Scottish Cybersecurity Information Sharing Partnership (CiSP) and Cyber Essentials coordinator at SBRC, said: “All businesses and organisations, no matter how small, are a potential target, particularly if they do not take simple precautionary measures to protect themselves. Any company with an IT network could be at risk of an attack and computerised systems – payroll, marketing, booking systems and databases, for example, could all be compromised.

“Cyberattacks are also a real risk to the third sector; from a small, locally run playgroup which holds a database of personal details, to larger charities delivering services to vulnerable adults.

“Having a Cyber Essentials badge shows your customers and clients that you take cyber security seriously and that you can and will protect your organisation against common cyber threats.”

An SBRC-led Trusted Partners initiative has also been established to signpost the group of independent firms in Scotland who are accredited as Cyber Essentials certifying bodies.

Bye added: “This initiative, endorsed by our partners at Police Scotland, was established to support other businesses across Scotland to achieve Cyber Essentials.”

Interested firms can apply for the voucher system online via the Scottish Enterprise or Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) websites.

Gerry Grant, the SBRC’s chief ethical hacker, said: “Cyber Essentials give you a really good grounding when it comes to your cyber security – and the process is not particularly difficult or onerous.”