Business Connect caught up with Neil Jones, Director of the Cyber Resilience Centre and head of cybercrime at Greater Manchester Police. Neil has observed first-hand the damaging impact on businesses that cybercrime has had, and explained to us the important work of the North West Cyber Resilience Centre:
Tell us about the North West Cyber Resilience Centre – how did the organisation come about?
“The North West Cyber Resilience Centre was established in 2019 as a pathfinder to the National Police Chief’s Council (NPCC) and the Home Office, as a joint venture between Greater Manchester Police and Manchester Digital. Our ambition is to ensure every small business is armed with the knowledge, skills and tools to protect themselves from online crime. Through trusted guidance and an affordable range of memberships and services, we exist to help businesses to stay safe online. 39% of businesses suffered a cyber attack last year, at an average cost of £8,460 in lost data and assets. The centre was established to make a real difference to businesses and help protect them from becoming victims of crime. We believe 80% of cybercrime is preventable by following the guidance provided by the NWCRC.”
What services do you provide businesses?
“We provide a small range of affordable services to help you understand your vulnerability to an attack, build confidence within your teams and secure your business.”
Using the same techniques as criminals, we ethically hack into your systems or website to identify vulnerabilities. We analyse the findings to calculate the risk to your business before making recommendations on how best to mitigate these risks.
Digital Footprint Investigations
This service simulates the way hackers go about harvesting information about you or your company to harm your business. We use specialist investigation tools to see what confidential information can be found online and provide practical recommendations on the steps that can be taken to remove it or secure it.
Security Awareness Training
Employees have the potential to be the strongest link in an organisation when it comes to identifying security threats. We educate your employees to increase confidence across the business and act as the first line of defence. We cover a wide range of subjects, from passwords and phishing to spoofed websites and encryption, safe use of social media and multi-factor authentication.
“Our skilled Cyber Security Consultants work alongside seconded police officers to ensure you are provided with trusted guidance and only invest in what is necessary.”
What support do you receive from Greater Manchester Police?
“Greater Manchester Police have seconded two senior police officers to the centre to support the work we do to help protect businesses from online crime. We are proud to run a complimentary cybercrime recovery service to help businesses affected by online crime and have also launched a fully-funded business resilience program to support 300 businesses across Greater Manchester. The pandemic has seen a 400% increase in reports of cyber fraud with small businesses finding themselves at the greatest risk and without access to relevant, affordable and trusted support. Using money seized from criminals under the Proceeds of Crime Act, this programme helps your business through education, training and 1-2-1 support.”
What is involved in the different membership packages for business?’
“Becoming a member of the NWCRC comes with a range of benefits including:
- Access to National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) guidance materials.
- Cyber security guidance backed by North West Police forces.
- Regular police updates on cyber threats.
- Cyber security awareness training.
- NWCRC newsletter, blogs, and events.
- Discounts on cyber services.
“Our entry-level Business Starter Membership is aimed at micro and small businesses who are ready to take the next steps and want to train their staff in cyber security basics.
“Our best value Business Enhanced Membership package for small to medium businesses who want to train a larger group of staff in cyber security basics, implement security policies and explore our vulnerability testing services.
“Our Business Premium Membership package is aimed at medium-sized businesses, which includes bespoke security awareness training allowing your business to train a number of cyber security champions and assess your cyber risk through a Phishing Exercise and a Cyber Risk Exposure Assessment.”
How do you see the organisation growing?
“We are currently expanding to provide our range of services and memberships to small businesses across the North West, supporting businesses in Cumbria, Lancashire, Merseyside, Cheshire and Greater Manchester. We are also now proud to be part of a network of ten regional cyber resilience centres providing similar support across the UK.”