Hertfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner.  
Commissioner's Office: 01707 806100

Cyber strategy

Small and medium-sized businesses in Hertfordshire are falling victim to cyber crime which is costing them millions of pounds every year.

In December 2018 I launched a joint strategy with Hertfordshire County Council to be the first in the country to focus on preventing cybercrime rather than just responding to it.

The impact of cybercrime is now reaching unprecedented levels. Tools that were once the preserve of highly skilled hackers and now available off the shelf on the Dark Web at little or no cost.

The government has catagorised cybercrime as a 'Tier 1' threat, the highest level available, the same as terrorism.

Our aim is to help the county's 60,000 SMEs protect themselves, but most small businesses are either unaware of the risk or don’t consider it serious.

Even among those businesses that do, many feel there’s nothing they can do or don’t know where to start.

As well as raising awareness of the risks, the two year strategy will promote a support service for businesses that are worried about cybercrime or have fallen victim.

In the coming months businesses will be able to apply for a free voucher enabling them to get a security expert to review their computer systems and advise how to improve their defences.

David Lloyd said: “Over ninety percent of Hertfordshire’s sixty thousand SMEs are ‘Micro’ businesses - meaning they have fewer than ten employees - and these are some of the most vulnerable to cyber risk. 

These businesses do not have teams of IT staff to support them, and many believe either they are not at risk or that it is too difficult to do anything about it.

“Our message to them is that you are a target for cybercriminals and you need to take action to protect your business.

 That’s why I have launched a £25,000 Cyber Protection for Businesses Voucher Scheme that will let micro businesses get a free external assessment of their IT security and information management systems.

This Cyber Basics Review will help business owners understand where they are currently vulnerable and how they can better protect their systems.”

Detective Inspector Marcus Bromley from Hertfordshire Constabulary’s Serious Fraud and Cyber Unit said: “Cybercrime is one of the fastest growing issues that police forces across the country are currently dealing with.

It costs the local economy and businesses hundreds of thousands of pounds every year and in many cases, simple crime prevention advice can help to prevent most cyber-attacks on business networks.

This is a great initiative, which aims to deliver specialist cybercrime advice and relevant preventative measures businesses can take to protect their systems, which will benefit the businesses themselves and their customers and employees.”

In 2017 Hertfordshire was one of the most targetted countys in the UK by cyber criminals with a over £3million being stolen, the single highest loss was for £1.3m.

In essence the message that we need to get across is
- Your business is a target
- You must take the threat seriously
- You need take action

Read Tackling Business Crime Together