Cisco UK & Ireland Blog

Saving our UK SME

December 22, 2015

This week we saw the inclusion of 7 million reported ‘cyber attacks’ added into the UK’s crime statistics. Cybercrime is now Britain’s most common criminal offence.

The latest Crime Survey from England and Wales from the UK Office for National Statistics has revealed the startling number of fraud and cybercrime offences being committed each year.

Cyber criminals, it appears, operate with complete immunity to the fear of detection or prosecution, because there are just too many incidents to investigate.

What is the UK doing about this reported cybercrime?
For smaller Cyber Attacks on individuals, pretty much nothing.  A ransomware attack on a home user will only be recorded as such. Paying the ransom, and rebuilding the PC operating system, are the only options open to the home user.

For more serious attacks, where big sums of money are stolen from individual’s bank accounts for example, these are being actively fought in close cooperation by cyber police around the world, including the UK National Cyber Crime Unit, GCHQ, the FBI, the UK National Crime Agency, and Europol.

But I’m asking myself what about the small business in the UK – the SMEs (Small to Medium Enterprises), namely the companies with 5 to 150 employees. These companies fall into the gap in the middle where they need to be masters of their own cyber security protection, but can’t afford to pay for the expensive technical resources to undertake this. SMEs operate on a very low budget, often using non-licensed software to save on costs.

Do they have the manpower and knowledge to manage their business security on a day to day basis? Do they have an outside security resource to turn to for guidance without high costs? The answer to both these questions is NO of course

There are two important points to understand here before you dismiss their plight.

Small firms accounted for 99.3 percent of all private sector businesses in the UK, 47.8 per cent of private sector employment and 33.2 percent of private sector turnover. Small and medium sized businesses employed 15.2 million people and had a combined turnover of £1.6 trillion (FSB). SMBs add enormously to the UK’s exports and balance of trade.

SMEs accounted for more than half of employment (59.1%) and almost half of turnover (48.8%) in the UK private sector.  In 2009, SMEs accounted for 53% of the value of goods exported from the UK which, in monetary terms, amounted to about €135 billion.

Now understanding how important this market sector is, let’s look at how these small companies are being effected by cyber-attacks. The graphic below shows statistics compiled by PWC UK, illustrating the percentage of small business compromised last year.


How this changing on a year by year basis is, is also vital to understand. Is this increasing, is my point?

So where does a leading security company like Cisco fit into the picture to help SMEs to manage their cyber security protection.

Cisco does have an answer to this, and that is – Security as a Cloud delivered service.

With our acquisition of OpenDNS, Cisco can now offer Security as a subscription based service to SMEs.

Its the most straight forward way that SMEs can make their Internet connections faster and more reliable with built in security that is regularly updated by experts.

OpenDNS offers protection for all the SME’s devices on any network, and even outside of the business premises, preventing laptops being infected with malware on the road, and brought to the business LAN environment to propagate malware to application servers, and data bases.

Enabled quickly and easily, Cisco’s OpenDNS security solution offers built-in fraud and phishing protection. OpenDNS has the ability to restrict Internet access to specific white-listed domains for a “locked-down” environment.

One of the most important features that OpenDNS provides is to take away security ‘choices’ from novice Internet users, preventing malware being inadvertently downloaded into the SME’s business domain.

So, Cisco is now able to work with SMEs to provide a security solution to make the Internet a safer place for small companies to safely conduct their online business.

More information on this Cisco System acquisition of this security solution and the company, along with product information, can be found here. OpenDNS is now part of Cisco Systems Inc.

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