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Demand for ‘Cyber Essentials’ Support Growing at RMT in Wake of WannaCry Attacks

ByEmily

Jun 29, 2017
The worldwide impact of the recent WannaCry ransomware attack has led to a spike in the number of North East firms looking for help in becoming better protected from online threats.
RMT Accountants has seen a surge in enquiries from regional businesses looking for help in completing the government’s Cyber Essentials programme, which aims to provide organisations with basic protection from the most prevalent forms of online threat coming from the internet.
The Gosforth-based firm, which itself holds the advanced Cyber Essentials PLUS standard, works with organisations of all types and sizes to help them prepare to undergo the Cyber Essentials accreditation process and provides solutions to any potential issues that are identified during the exercise.
The questionnaire asks around ten questions on each of five different topics – malware, firewalls, patch management, access control and secure system configuration – and requires that candidates achieves high scores in each one before they can achieve accreditation.
The WannaCry cyber-attack in May is estimated to have infected more than 200,000 computers in 150 countries around the world, affecting government, healthcare and private company systems, with a number of primary care practices around North East England being directly affected.
And Paul Holborow, head of RMT Technology, RMT Accountants’ specialist technology support division, believes it should provide a sound reason for organisations of all types and sizes to review what measures they have in place to keep themselves safe from cyber threats.
He says: “WannaCry has been a wake-up call to everyone about the dangers of not being properly protected against the constant threats faced by both our technologies and the business operations that they make possible.
“Falling victim to an attack can have a direct and immediate impact on a businesses’ costs and productivity, as well as causing other longer-term issues around reputation, regulatory compliance and financial performance, and they can often be bad enough to put companies out of business permanently.
“The government’s Cyber Essentials programme offers an entry level of assessing where your business’s strengths and weaknesses are in terms of internet security provision, and we are working with increasing numbers of clients to identify and address any gaps in their existing protections before they go through the formal process.
“The Cyber Essentials process has a built-in business imperative in that the government includescompliance as a minimum requirement for qualifying for a range of public sector contracts.
“Many larger businesses have also followed suit, meaning that suppliers have to demonstrate this proactive approach to cyber security or risk losing out on even having the chance to compete for new contracts, and it makes sense on a lot of levels for regional firms to be investigating whether they’re as prepared as they can for facing and neutralising online threats.”

By Emily