As we come out of the COVID-19 pandemic and the challenges of the last 18 months, despite the long tail of uncertainty we are all experiencing (as I'm writing this we find ourselves back working from home again). At the Cyber Resilience Centre, we are looking forward to a positive future. It’s been a challenging journey: we have grown our team, expanded our service offering, connected with great new partners, but most importantly we really enjoy doing what we do and making a difference for businesses in the North West!
In an increasingly digital-first world – a world where people are increasingly at risk from cyber-attacks, at the Cyber Resilience Centre we believe “digital harm is real harm”- for the small businesses we work with, dealing with a cyber-attack doesn't just mean a loss of reputation or the financial impact. It can see their business having shut their doors - leading to the mental impact of losing something they may have built and worked on for their whole life.
We saw over at the start of the first lockdown online fraud moved away from other government scams (such as HMRC tax scams) and cyber criminals instead focused their efforts on covid scams (furlough, relief payments, testing kits, jabs, passports).
Criminals took advantage of the changing landscape for businesses and they attacked those companies who were transitioning staff from office to working from home. Those companies who had out of date software, weak passwords or passwords that were repeated and accounts that didn’t use two-factor authentication often found themselves dealing with a cyber incident.
It’s a case of when and not if for businesses and cyber attacks. That is what really drives the step-up in business performance our customers are looking for. This is what we mean by “humanising change”. At the end of the day, people make the difference.
We want to ensure every small business in the region has access to the knowledge, skills and tools to help protect themselves from online crime.
That’s why we signpost businesses to our free police and government-backed guidance and affordable services and membership. To date we have helped over 750 businesses test their resilience, train their teams and protect their businesses. Our membership has grown to over 350 members, with a growing social media following of over 4,500. In 2021 alone we have reached nearly 1,000 delegates through webinars and in-person events alongside Lloyds Bank, Barclays, Bright HR, Siemens and EnterprisingYou.
Without our board and our partners at Greater Manchester Police and Manchester Digital we wouldn’t be here today, likewise our founding partners; Irwin Mitchell, Siemens, CGI, Northrop Grumman and Deloitte.
We are proud to be working across the North West and Greater Manchester with several fantastic regional organisations, including Manchester Digital, Greater Manchester Combined Authority, the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, the Federation of Small Businesses and the Institute of Chartered Accountants.
We concentrate on 3 things:
Train – we tailor our security awareness training to your staff and offer specific guidance based on the threats your industry faces. We make your staff aware of the most common cyberattacks, such as; phishing emails, ransomware and impersonating key members of staff in your organisation. Employees need to be taught what clues to look for that indicate threats, and how to respond when they see them.
Test – we provide affordable cyber security services which help businesses assess, build and manage their organisation’s cyber security capabilities, build confidence in their staff, and understand their website or network vulnerabilities to help secure their business.
Protect – we work with businesses and partner with local organisations to help protect them from online crime. We work to understand what businesses really need to do to stay secure online.
This includes our police backed guidance and resources and our victim recovery service which is delivered alongside our North West Police force partners. We also have a trusted network of partners (IASME Certified) that we can introduce when specialist services are required
There are other cyber security businesses out there, but what makes us different is that we are a trusted police lead not-for-profit partnership created to help protect businesses from online crime.
For our members – it’s about educating staff, managing vulnerabilities and making a real difference. In effect, we want every business to have access to the knowledge, skills and tools to help protect themselves from online crime in 2022 and beyond.