Supporting Worcestershire businesses as a specialist business advisor
Worcestershire County Council and Worcestershire Growth Hub have consistently provided support to Worcestershire businesses. These have been in the form of funded programmes to allow businesses to receive free support to help aid growth and security to make Worcestershire’s economy grow and thrive. The borwell team have been delighted to be one of the selected specialist business advisors on the latest support programme delivered by Worcestershire Growth Hub. As the digital transformation advisor on the programme, we have provided support to many Worcestershire SMEs to help aid their growth and competitive edge as we progress out of the recently trying times for businesses across the UK caused by the Covid pandemic. As well as ourselves, other advisors on the scheme have been providing marketing, finance and environmental support for businesses, making the business advisors programme an excellent opportunity for SMEs to gain valuable funded support across all areas of their business.
Throughout the 6-month programme we have supported 17 businesses and we identified two key areas that SMEs needed support with. The first being cyber resilience. Businesses are now becoming ever more conscious of this more publicised threat, however, less than 50,000 businesses in the UK are Cyber Essentials certified, yet one business in the UK is hacked every 19 seconds. With the continued rise in hybrid and remote working, the risk of a possible cyber-attack on your business becomes a real possibility. Four in ten businesses have been the victim of a cyber-attack in the last year alone. Quite amazingly, 4 in 5 businesses, still have no form of cyber security certification in place at present. Through the advisor programme we were able to provide consultancy so that the SMEs would be better protected. Launched in 2014, Cyber Essentials is a government-backed and industry-supported certification scheme that helps businesses protect themselves against the growing threat of cyber-attacks and provides a clear statement of the basic controls organisations should have in place to protect them. Each year the certification is updated with the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) to make sure that it adapts to the ever-growing cyber threats.
Cyber Essentials is an excellent starting point for all businesses wanting to gain an entry-point into Cyber Security best practice. Below are some of the key benefits of obtaining CE accreditation that the businesses we helped will now see on the programme.
· Reassure customers that you are working to secure your IT against cyber threats by protecting their data, as well as your own.
· Attract new business with the assurance you have cyber security measures in place
· Display the logo on your website to market your accreditation
· Gain a better understanding of your organisation’s cyber security
· Allows you to tender for Government contracts that insist on certification
· Free Cyber Security Insurance
The second most popular area of support that we provided to businesses on the programme was the adoption of new cloud technologies. Many businesses that we advised were new to either remote or hybrid working as a result of the pandemic. These businesses needed new and efficient ways of working to stay competitive in their respective industries.
Microsoft have reported a spike of 775% in increased use of their cloud services. This statistic has been reflected in the requests of help and training in adopting these services on the scheme. The most popular being how to use MS Teams, Outlook, and SharePoint. These were the most popular due to them being vital cloud technologies to enable businesses to work collaboratively and remotely. Unlike using paper systems or only having access to documents and files stored on a physical office server, cloud services allow access to files and information anywhere as long as you have internet access.
As the programme draws to a close, we are very much hopeful and excited at the next chance for Worcestershire businesses to receive funded support to grow their business and build resilience. Make sure you stay in touch with Worcestershire Growth Hub for current opportunities of support. You can find out more and stay updated here: https://worcestershiregrowthhub.co.uk/