Small businesses urged to follow five simple steps to thrive online

UK small businesses can shield themselves from potential online attacks thanks to a new guide created by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC).

The NCSC is a member of The Prince’s Business Emergency Resilience Group (BERG) at Business in the Community. They support BERG with technical guidance and expertise on cyber resilience for small to medium sized businesses.

Research by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) earlier this year found that nearly half (45 per cent) of all micro/small businesses identified a cyber security breach or attack in the last year. Despite this among the quarter of micro/small businesses that consider it a low priority, over a third (35 per cent) have nonetheless identified a breach.

The NCSC Small Business Guide includes five simple steps organisations can follow to improve their cyber security and better protect themselves from loss online. The expert advice comes in categories focused on backing-up data, using strong passwords, protecting against malware, keeping devices safe and avoiding phishing attacks.

The five steps for small businesses include:

Backing up your data

Five things to consider when backing up your data

Protecting your organisation from malware

Five free and easy-to-implement tips that can help prevent malware damaging your organisation

Keeping your smartphones (and tablets) safe

Five quick tips that can help keep your mobile devices (and the information stored on them) secure

Using passwords to protect your data

Five things to keep in mind when using passwords

Avoiding phishing attacks

Steps to help you identify the most common phishing attacks

Alison Whitney, the NCSC’s Director for Engagement, commented: “Cyber security can feel daunting for a small business, which is why we’ve made the UK’s most easy-to-access guide to help them thrive online. “Protecting against malware, backing up data and avoiding phishing attacks should be as second nature to a small firm as cashing up or locking the doors at night. Whether you own a bakery, a building firm or you sell products online, our advice will help all business owners avoid threats that can cost time, money and reputation.”

Employing more than 12.5 million people and representing 99 per cen of all private sector businesses in the UK, small businesses are at the heart of the nation’s economy.

The government’s Cyber Aware campaign recommends simple ways SMEs can protect themselves online, including installing the latest software and app updates and using a strong, separate password for email.

Businesses looking to improve their cyber security further can also seek certification under the Cyber Essentials scheme, which helps protect against common internet threats and demonstrates to customers and prospective clients they take the protection of their data seriously.  

Further information

  • You can see the Small Business Guide here:

  • The UK Government’s behavioural change campaign for cyber security, Cyber Aware, promotes simple measures that small businesses and individuals can adopt to stay more secure online. Cyber Aware’s technical advice is provided by the NCSC. Further information on the campaign can be found here.

If you would like to find out more about the NCSC’s small business guide, please contact Gavin B, Senior Communications Officer,

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