Special Feature
Part of a ZDNet Special Feature: The new SMB stack

Free cybersecurity tool aims to help smaller businesses stay safer online

NCSC tool aims to help small businesses develop a strategy to protect themselves from cybercrime.

Cybersecurity: Why supply chain weaknesses make you easy pickings for hackers

Small businesses can receive bespoke advice on how to improve their cybersecurity and protect their networks from malicious hackers and cybercrime via a new tool from the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC).

The 'Cyber Action Plan' is a free online service designed to help small businesses protect themselves against cyberattacks.

While smaller businesses might not believe they're a tempting target for cyber criminals, almost half have reported cybersecurity breaches or attacks over the past year. That figure is up from under a third of SMBs reporting incidents during the previous twelve months.

For cyber criminals, while targeting smaller businesses might not be as lucrative as campaigns targeting larger businesses, the potential lack of cybersecurity barriers could provide them with easy pickings. The attacker could always be targeting a small business as part of a supply chain attack against a larger target anyway.

SEE: What is cyber insurance? Everything you need to know about what it covers and how it works

The NCSC's Cyber Action Plan tool aims to help small businesses improve their resilience to cyberattacks via the aid of a short questionnaire about their current cybersecurity strategy and provides customised advice on how the business could be better protected against cybercrime.

Some of the potential recommendations include building a backup strategy and regularly updating those backups, using a strong password and multi-factor authentication, as well as making sure that software updates and security updates are regularly applied.

By applying relatively simple cybersecurity procedures like these, small businesses can go a long way towards protecting themselves from falling victim to data breaches, malware, ransomware and other cyberattacks.

Special Feature

Special report: The new SMB stack (free PDF)

This ebook, based on the latest ZDNet / TechRepublic special feature, helps small and medium-sized businesses build a technology stack that promotes innovation and enables growth.

Read More

"Small businesses are the lifeblood of this country, but we know they can be a target for cyber criminals, particularly as they move more operations online," said Sarah Lyons, deputy director for economy and society at the NCSC.

"Our free Cyber Action Plan is here to help, offering bespoke, actionable information linked to the Cyber Aware behaviours. If you work for yourself, or run a small business, I would urge you to spend a few minutes on the questionnaire and follow the steps to help secure your business," she added.

SEE: Network security policy (TechRepublic Premium)

The action plan is the latest in a line of tools and initiatives by the NCSC designed to help protect businesses and individuals from falling victim to cyberattacks – or knowing what to do if they do become a victim of cybercrime.

The NCSC will be launching a version of the cyber-action plan designed to help individuals and families protect themselves from cyberattacks at some point in the future.

MORE ON CYBERSECURITY