Government launches cyber security grant scheme for small businesses

16 July 2015

A new voucher scheme to protect small businesses from cyber attacks has been announced by the government. 

It plans to launch the scheme later this month as part of a package of initiatives that also includes a new online learning and careers hub to help ensure the UK has the cyber skills talent pool to protect both the public and private sectors.

The new UK £1m cyber security innovation vouchers scheme will offer micro and SMEs up to £5,000 for specialist advice to boost their cyber security and protect new business ideas and intellectual property. 

The vouchers will also enable firms to access services from the UK cyber security industry, and help them to adopt Cyber Essentials, the government’s flagship scheme to protect companies online.

The programme will be overseen by the government’s experts at Innovate UK. Kevin Baughan, its director of technology and innovation, said:  “The UK’s economy is increasingly underpinned by digital infrastructure, so cyber security is now a critical component. The schemes announced today will give cyber confidence for businesses and consumers and will help our digital economy to flourish. The UK now has the opportunity to become a world leader in cyber security, creating the jobs of tomorrow and driving productivity and growth.”

According to the Department of Culture Media and Sport (DCMS), the UK’s cyber security industry is currently worth £17.6bn and employs more than 40,000 people. But it adds that while the sector is “strong and growing”, more skilled people are needed to help protect the nation as it goes digital and adopts new technologies.  

It’s hoped that the new Inspired Careers online skills and career hub being launched today will tackle this. The hub has been developed by the government in collaboration CREST, the not for profit body that represents the technical information assurance industry. It features careers information and advice, internship and apprenticeship opportunities, academic and professional training courses, work experience and senior level vacancies. 

The DCMS claims the hub will be a “powerful tool” to promote the cyber security profession and encourage the next generation of cyber specialists to help protect the UK.

Digital economy minister Ed Vaizey said: “This is an important development which supports the government’s commitment to encouraging more young people to develop cyber security skills, along with those looking for an exciting and challenging career change. 

“The UK has a proud heritage in cryptography and computer science and is at the forefront of today’s battle against the cyber criminals, but there is still more to do if we are to stay ahead.”

Publicising entry level jobs or work-based training vacancies on Inspired Careers is free of charge. There are also a range of job vacancy posting, sponsored content and sponsorship opportunities available.

Citing data from the 2015 Information Security Breaches Survey, the government says 74 per cent of small businesses had a security breach that could cost them anything from £75,200 to £310,800. It has produced cyber security guidance for small businesses to help ensure they have appropriate cyber security.