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Highlands and Islands-based businesses to benefit from brushing up their cyber resilience with a free virtual workshop organised by the Scottish Business Resilience Centre (SBRC)

By Ian Duncan

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Ransomware alert message on a laptop screen.
Ransomware alert message on a laptop screen.

The Scottish Business Resilience Centre (SBRC) has announced that it is to host a free virtual workshop focused on the cyber resilience of businesses based in and around the Highlands and Islands on November 17.

Covid-19 has been described as a “gift” for cyber criminals – recent data from Hiscox has revealed that there are 65,000 attacks on small to medium businesses every day in the UK with around seven per cent of such attacks (equating to around 4,500 incidents) hitting their target.

In a time where businesses of all sizes are under more pressure, cyber resilience is often left off the agenda which could prove extremely detrimental to the future of the business – both reputationally and financially.

As part of the National Cyber Security Centre’s Exercise in a Box programme, the SBRC, with support from the Scottish Government, is hosting a series of regional and sectoral workshops for businesses to discover how resilient they are to cyberattacks.

As part of this, they will be able to test their response in a safe environment, without worry about repercussions.

More than 250 organisations from around Scotland that attend these sessions will be provided with a set of training tools to allow them to test their preparedness for the most common cyber attacks, and record and learn lessons from the exercising sessions.

The SBRC’s cyber team will run these sessions virtually with input from Police Scotland and other stakeholders. Participants will gain a range of skills allowing them to continue refining their cyber resilience policies in their own time.

The sessions, which kicked off earlier this month, have already proven popular, with several becoming fully booked, and it is expected that the regional sessions taking place in November will prove to be just as popular.

Those interested in understanding how resilient they are to cyber attacks and what they can do to strengthen themselves are encouraged to book into their local session quickly.

Jude McCorry, the chief executive of SBRC, said: “Keeping businesses alive has been the highest priority for many over the last seven months. Sadly, no business is immune to the pressures that the Covid-19 pandemic has brought.

"However, the pandemic has also highlighted opportunistic individuals’ intent on taking advantage of this vulnerability and we have seen a marked rise in cyber threats.

"Our Exercise in a Box programme will make sure that businesses not only in the Highlands and Islands but across Scotland will be equipped with the skills to know how to review, adapt and strengthen their cyber policies.

"We want to ensure that Scotland is one of the safest and resilient places to live, work and do business both on and offline.”

Other free virtual regional sessions will be held for businesses based in and around Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Fife, and Glasgow during November with specific sectoral sessions to be held in December. Registration is available here .

Aimed at small and medium-sized businesses, charities, local government and the emergency services, Exercise in a Box outlines the key considerations an organisation should address when preparing a response to a cyber attack – this includes setting up, planning, delivery, and post-exercise activity, and the resource is available for free from the NCSC website.

The SBRC will also be working in partnership with TechFest to spread the word on how individuals and organisations can increase their cyber resilience.

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