Businesses become savvy in cyber awareness month

Group photo – cyber champion training delegates with ACC Emma Barnett, DPCC Sue Arnold and trainers Kate Dempsey and Digital PCSO Matthew Hough-Clewes

Local businesses are becoming cyber savvy with a new designated champion in their workplace.

Businesses across the county are the first to be trained for the new initiative, which has been launched by Staffordshire’s Online Fraud Forum on behalf of Staffordshire Commissioner for Police, Fire and Rescue and Crime, Matthew Ellis.

The free training gives Staffordshire businesses the chance to get cyber savvy and stay one step ahead of online fraudsters, with designated workplace champions.

The partnership of local business and public sector organisations is chaired by Sue Arnold, Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner for Staffordshire.

Speaking about the initiative, Sue Arnold said:

‘It’s all too easy to fall foul of online fraud, and the consequences can be devastating. We all have to become smarter if we’re going to reduce the impact of this kind of crime and this free training will enable businesses to stay ahead of the fraudsters.  The new Cyber Crime champions will be the first point of contact for information and will be able to share it easily and quickly with their colleagues’

Last year, online fraud and cyber crime was estimated to have cost £11 billion pounds and fraudsters are increasingly targeting businesses large and small.

ACC Emma Barnett said: ‘Cybercrime is a real and current threat to local businesses due to emerging digital crime trends over the last decade.

‘The risks posed to businesses are significant and many organisations are being frequently exposed to cyber security risks.

‘The cost to a business in terms of lost revenue or reputational damage through a cyber-attack can be devastating and there is a human impact of victims to these attacks and on line frauds

‘This initiative will help make it more difficult for criminals to target businesses across Staffordshire by raising awareness of the current cyber threats and sharing information on how to protect themselves and prevent cyber-attacks in the future’.

Cyber crime is swiftly becoming the most damaging crime a victim can experience.  Millions of pounds and reams of sensitive data are stolen every year and a lot of this can be prevented with some simple actions.

The training, which begins today, will be delivered by Staffordshire Police’s Crime Prevention Design Advisor, Kate Dempsey and Staffordshire’s Digital Police Community Support Officer.

Kate Dempsey, (lead advisor on the training), said:

‘Introducing a cyber champion into the workplace will in itself raise awareness of online safety.

‘This is a really good opportunity for businesses to get free advice and training.

‘Keeping up to date with cyber and fraud threats reduces their risk of becoming a victim in the future’.

ACC Emma Barnett, DPCC Sue Arnold and trainers Kate Dempsey and Digital PCSO Matthew Hough-Clewes

PCSO Matthew Hough-Clewes is one of less than 10 throughout the UK and took on the role to protect the public and businesses from online fraud in December last year.

‘I have visited a number of groups and organisations, showing them how to protect themselves online and not be tricked into giving away information to the wrong people’ he said.

‘I’m really excited about this new Cyber Champion initiative and look forward to helping businesses in Staffordshire improve their cyber security’.

Forum member Karen Woolley, Federation of Small Businesses for Staffordshire and West Midlands development manager, said:

‘This training is really important for the businesses we represent to ensure they understand the risks of cyber-crime and make sure they have plans in place to protect their businesses from cyber attacks’.

For more information about becoming a Cyber Champion in your workplace and sign up for future training sessions