3rd July 2019

Cyber security: new guidance for SMEs

By Matthew Pryke

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) estimates 1 in 3 UK businesses will experience a cyber breach. In light of this risk,  the NCSC published guidance in November 2018 for SMEs (the Small Business Guide), setting out key steps for improving cyber security. Separate guidance was also published for larger organisations (available here).

In June 2019, the NCSC published further guidance for SMEs (the Small Business Guide to Response and Recovery), addressing a number of questions such as:

  • How should SMEs react to a cyber breach?
  • How can SMEs get back to business as usual after a breach?

This further guidance sets out 5 key steps to help smaller organisations respond to, and recover from, a cyber-attack:

Step 1: Prepare for incidents: rather than trying to predict every possible incident, smaller organisations should identify the most common threats faced by the business, and develop detailed plans to handle these threats.

Step 2: Identify what’s happening: the guide suggests 10 questions SMEs should ask as soon as a breach is suspected, which may help gather vital information about what happened.

Step 3: Resolve the incident: the actions in this step are designed to help SMEs get back up-and-running as soon as possible.

Step 4: Report the incident to wider stakeholders: the Information Commissioner’s Website provides information on the incidents which are legally required to be reported to the ICO. SMEs may also be required to report to stakeholders, and should inform customers and staff if they are affected (e.g. if their personal data has been compromised).

Step 5: Learn from the incident: it is important to document all stages of the response so actions can be reviewed, and improvements made.

Hamlins regularly advises SMEs on all aspects of cyber security, including:

  • advising on, and drafting, internal cyber security policies and practices;
  • reviewing and advising on cyber security provisions in commercial contracts; and
  • providing advice in the event of a cyber security breach.

Please contact Matthew Pryke if you would like further information.

Cyber security: new guidance for SMEs

Have a question? Contact Matthew

Associated services

Have a question? Contact Matthew

Associated services


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