Innovation Vouchers scheme extended to allow SMEs to improve cyber security

24th April 2013 | News

Last week we revealed that small and medium-sized enterprises are becoming a primary target for cyber hackers looking to access sensitive business and financial data.
The Government’s Technology Strategy Board has subsequently extended its Innovation Vouchers scheme to enable SMEs to improve their cyber security through external expertise; they can now bid for up to £5,000 from a £500,000 pot.
The premise of Innovation Vouchers is to encourage start-ups and SMEs to supplement their existing resources with knowledge and assistance from an external source.
The £5,000 grant is only available to firms that do not boast internal cyber security expertise or are currently working with a new technology supplier for the first time.
David Willetts, Minister for Universities and Science, said: "Keeping electronic information safe and secure is vital to a business’s bottom line.
"Companies are more at risk than ever of having their cyber security compromised, in particular small businesses, and no sector is immune from attack. But there are simple steps that can be taken to prevent the majority of incidents.
"The package of support we are announcing today will help small businesses protect valuable assets like financial information, websites, equipment, software and intellectual property, driving growth and keeping UK businesses ahead in the global race."
Data from the 2013 Information Security Breaches Survey has found that 87 per cent of small firms across all sectors experienced a breach in the last 12 months – up from 76 per cent a year ago.
The average cost of the worst security breach for SMEs was between £35,000 and £65,000.
Cyber hacking is not just confined to the smaller firms. Large organisations are still at high risk, with 93 per cent reporting security breaches in the last 12 months.