BusinessDay

United Kingdom aid partners KPMG, others to raise cybersecurity awareness among small businesses

More than 43 percent of cyber attacks are targeted at small businesses. Most businesses aren’t prepared to respond to an incident, or aware of tools and best practices that can be used to protect against common threats, a report shows.

It’s against this backdrop that the United Kingdom aid, in partnership with KPMG and Cybersafe Foundation have launched a cybersecurity toolkit for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). This will enable them to become more aware of cyber risks and take steps towards becoming more cyber resilient.

According to Interpol’s Africa Cyber Threat Assessment report published in October 2021, 90 percent of African businesses are operating without the necessary cybersecurity measures in place.

However, it is expected that the gap will be narrowed with this initiative bearing in mind that the protection of SMEs from Cyber harm is critical for inclusive growth and poverty alleviation.

“SMEs lack the people, the processes and the technology to protect themselves, and that is because their budget size is not as large as the big businesses and this is where the vulnerability comes in. With this toolkit, there is no need for monetary investments as it is free and vetted,” Confidence Staveley, Founder, Cybersafe Foundation, said.

Also, with the toolkit, the small businesses will be allowed access to free products from the trusted cybersecurity companies to improve the security of their businesses online.

“Anyone can access online mediums to facilitate their businesses with some degree of fortification and assurance to support all concerned in terms of safety in running their businesses. This is effective based on our collaboration to build trust, synergy and facilitate information sharing among the stakeholders for a more cohesive cybersecurity ecosystem,” Bala Fakandu, Deputy Director of Communications, ONSA, said.

Read also: NCC team uncovers new cyber threats targeting Windows, routers

With the increase in the use of technology as a primary medium to deliver information, transaction, education, world wide, the UK government recognises the importance of getting things right by protecting the most vulnerable online.

“The UK is delivering cybersecurity capacity support in Nigeria through KPMG in multiple areas including digital forensics, critical national infrastructure, and private support like this toolkit. We recognise the power of the digital economy to deliver sustainable development goals and with the COVID-19 pandemic, and now the Ukraine crisis, the digital space can no longer be ignored,” Ben Llewellyn-Jones, British Deputy High Commissioner to Lagos, said.

The toolkit which is applicable for any small business organization with limited IT expertise, resource or budget has up to five key areas for SMEs to focus on which include know what you have, update your defenses, beyond simple passwords, prevent phishing and malware, backup and recovery, as well as protect your email and reputation.

For SMES, the importance of digital access, and the quality of their contribution to the economy cannot be overemphasized. According to Andy Chadwick, FCDO, Africa Cyber Lead, addressing online businesses which are associated with cyber threats is key, as well as granting access to the underserved populations in rural communities.

“I think it’s really important that we don’t leave people behind, everybody should be given access to the internet so that they can develop careers for their businesses, and so that they do not miss out on the digital revolution that we see. That is why this digital access program exists,” Chadwick said.

With the evolution of technology around mobile networks, internet, experts say there will be massive increase in the internet of things (IoT), as well as associated artificial intelligence, cloud computing, remote working, among others. “We are working more online and it is really vital that we ensure and secure a safe space online,” Chadwick added.

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