Procurement · 25 July 2016

London business leaders largely unaware of Action Fraud or Cyber Streetwise

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Uptake of Action Fraud resources was highest amongst London’s business leaders

Business owners in London are missing out on government resources designed to help them defend against cyber attack, with small firms particularly at risk.

A new survey by the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), of 508 business leaders in the capital, found that just 13 per cent had used one of eight government-backed services offering company owners protection against online threats.

In every instance, at least 65 per cent of owners were unaware of the existence of the scheme in question, while the highest uptake of any one service was nine per cent, in the case of Action Fraud – the UK’s national reporting center for fraud and cyber crime.

The LCCI’s own cyber security working group – launched by the LCCI defence and security committee – has been working to raise awareness of cyber attacks, and the resources available to business owners.

The working group has called on London’s new mayor Sadiq Khan to give the capital’s smaller business owners more thorough support in understanding and tackling cyber crime, including raising the profile of the London Digital Security Centre.

Commenting on the survey’s findings, LCCI chief executive Colin Stanbridge said that much of the needed work could be done by London’s chief digital officer, which Khan promised to appoint in his election manifesto.

“We need to encourage discussion and share advice in order that businesses can continue to grow without feeling under attack from cyber crime,” Stanbridge explained.

“Cyber crime is still a relatively unknown quantity and what is quite clear from these findings is that the resources that exist to help business are also unknown.”

According to research carried out by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) last month, smaller business owners across Britain have fallen victim to some form of cyber crime despite 90 per cent taking steps to protect their firm.

Phishing emails were found to be responsible for half of all cyber attacks on small firms, while malware attacks were blamed for a third of threats. On average, companies are affected for two days when an attack occurs.

Conducted in partnership with ComRes, the LCCI survey asked business leaders whether they were aware of and had used the following resources: Action Fraud, Cyber Streetwise, Ten Steps to Cyber Security guide, the London Digital Security Centre, the Cyber Security Information Sharing Partnership, Responsible for Information e-learning course, the Cyber Essentials scheme and Innovation vouchers.

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Fred Heritage was previously deputy editor at Business Advice. He has a BA in politics and international relations from the University of Kent and an MA in international conflict from Kings College London.

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