It’s not every day that you get the opportunity of applying for a grant overseen by GCHQ to review and upgrade your cyber security. The Cyber Essentials programme does that.
Like a lot of other third sector organisations/charities, Covid 19 and the subsequent lock downs meant Centre West had to change the way we did things pretty much overnight. The changes undoubtedly transformed our communications made us much more flexible and able to react and deliver our services more effectively in what was a scary time for everyone.
The pandemic changed the way we all work. Working with our IT services provider One IT we up graded our IT and communications in a few weeks. While the changes come with benefits, we all know that they also come with risks. Cyber security is rarely out of the news, stories of fraud and data breaches are a problem that’s getting bigger.
It’s estimated that losses due to fraud and cybercrime cost the UK £3.1 billion in 2021-22. According to the department of Culture Media and Sport 26% of UK charities claimed to be targeted at least once a week. Charity Digital reports fines for failures to protect sensitive information and none compliance with GDPR, (General Data Protection Regulation), have risen by nearly 40% year on year since it came into force in 2020.
So it was with some relief that we took up the offer of free Cyber security advice and support up to a cost of £3,300. The locally based expert reviewed our systems and checked out our -
Centre West was awarded a certificate of assurance following a few policy and process changes. Nothing is fool-proof but it does mean we are more secure than we ever were. Like a lot of grant programmes these days the Cyber Essentials programme had a limited budget and is no longer available. However, we have been assured that a second round should be available soon.