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UK pilots ‘Costar’ SME cybersecurity scheme

UK pilots ‘Costar’ SME cybersecurity scheme

Britain is among the first countries to launch a scheme to boost SME cybersecurity.

Cybersecurity is one of the biggest challenges facing businesses but a new scheme aims to help better prepare Europe’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

The co-ordinated cybersecurity taskforce and response (Costar) project is being piloted this year and the UK is one of the first countries to trial it.

It comes amid growing fears that Britain’s small businesses are ignoring the dangers posed by cyber crime and are not doing enough to guard against it.


The government’s Cyber Streetwise campaign showed 66 per cent of SMEs do not think their business is vulnerable, while just 16 per cent are making improving cybersecurity a priority for 2015.

Complacency is the biggest danger, with one in three small businesses suffering a cyber attack from someone outside their business last year.

John Allan, national chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), commented on the findings: “Cyber crime is a major business resilience issue. Business owners and managers need to see and understand this threat clearly and take the steps necessary to protect themselves.”

Costar will aim to tackle this by providing managed security services for SMEs. It is supported by the European association for e-identity and security (EEMA) and emerged from the Trust in Digital Life Association (TDL).


Jon Shamah, chairman of EEMA told Computer Weekly: “Costar is designed to provide pragmatic, practical, first-step help to SMEs by providing the resources available to most large organisations, but at a price SMEs can afford.”

It aims to improve SME cybersecurity resilience by addressing the costs and lack of knowledge about the issue. “The goal is to provide basic managed services at a cost of less than €5 per device per month,” Shamah added.

The scheme will monitor the health of SME infrastructure on subscriber devices and help firms that have been attacked. It will also offer training and awareness programmes for companies, register incidents reported by SMEs, and gather cross-border evidence of cyber attacks to assist prosecutions.

Costar will launch in the UK, Belgium and the Netherlands this year before being rolled out across other European Union member states from 2016.

Click here to read the full report.

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