The topic of cybersecurity will be served up to local businesspeople attending a dinner in Aberdeen this week.

Robbie Ross, chief security officer at Converged Communication Solutions, will deliver a presentation on the subject at a networking event on Thursday evening organised by Aberdeen Entrepreneurs.  Attendees will hear how cybercrime can affect businesses and organisations of all sizes, the different techniques used by cybercriminals and the steps that businesses and their employees can take to better protect themselves online.

Cybercrime is estimated to cost UK businesses around £27billion every year.  Results of a survey of 2,300 UK businesses, charities and educational providers published by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) in 2021 revealed that four in ten businesses suffered a cyber breach in the previous 12 months.  Based on 2020 UK government figures, which estimate that there are 1.4 million small and medium enterprises in Britain, it means that as many as half a million firms may have been subjected to a cyber-attack during 2020.

Even greater need to be alert and prepared

The need for businesses to be alert to and prepared for potential cyber-attacks is greater than ever.  Rising levels of homeworking in recent years, combined with a growth in the number of internet connected devices, has increased cyber security risks.  While geopolitical tensions can contribute to a surge in cyber threats.  The UK’s National Cyber Security Centre recently called on UK organisations to bolster their online defences following the invasion of Ukraine.

During the evening Mr Ross will give insight into the different types of online threats businesses face.  This includes phishing, smishing – a cyber-attack sent via a text message, ransomware attacks, and insider threats, which can include unintentional threats that create opportunities which hackers can exploit.

Practical techniques to mitigate risk

He will also highlight practical ways which businesses and employees can mitigate the risk of a cyber-attack.  Adopting robust passwords or passphrases to access systems, keeping technology updated and continual awareness training can strengthen an organisation’s first line of defence.  Investing in initiatives such as Cyber Essentials, a UK government-backed cyber security scheme, can help to protect against the most common cyber threats, show compliance with GDPR regulations and provide confidence to clients and suppliers.

This is the latest in a series of cyber security presentations that Mr Ross and his colleagues have delivered free to businesses, community groups and schools in recent months.  It underlines the firm’s commitment to educating people about staying safe online and empowering them to take steps to guard against cyber-attacks.

Robbie Ross, chief security officer at Converged Communication Solutions, said: “With an entrepreneurial spirit at its heart, Converged is committed to supporting other businesses to effectively utilise IT and internet connections to grow.  Ensuring everyone within an organisation operates safely online is crucial, particularly with growing online threats.  That is why speaking to groups such as Aberdeen Entrepreneurs about the topic is so important.

“The threats posed by cyber-attacks remain a serious concern for us all and it can seem a daunting subject when you run own business.  We all have a responsibility to protect the data we use, which will often include client data, so taking practical steps to stay safe online, and having plans and staff training in place can help to mitigate risks.

“Attackers are always on the lookout for opportunities, so we need to close those down where possible.  We should also always be on our guard – if something looks too good to be true, it probably is.”

The Aberdeen Entrepreneurs dinner is being held on Thursday, 31 March from 6:00pm until 8:30pm at the Jurys Inn Aberdeen Airport hotel.  To book, and for further information, visit www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-c-word-tickets-276569164817.