European Cyber Security Month – find out how the Police Digital Security Centre is working to protect SME’s

October is European Cyber Security Month, the annual awareness campaign that promotes cyber security across Europe.

With cyber-crime being one of the fastest growing threats to businesses in the UK - a recent report by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport estimates that around a third of all UK businesses have suffered at least one cyber-attack or breach within the past 12 months – raising awareness of cybersecurity threats and promoting cybersecurity has never been more important.

The Police Digital Security Centre (PDSC) has been launched specifically with the aim of reducing the vulnerability of organisations to cyber-crime and fraud by supporting them develop and innovate in a secure digital environment.

The PDSC evolved from the London Digital Security Centre (LDSC), which was set up in 2015 by the Mayors’ Office for Policing and Crime in partnership with the Metropolitan Police and City of London Police to help small and medium sized organisations across the capital reduce their vulnerability to cyber-crime. LDSC became the PDSC in 2019 and works across the whole of the UK in partnership with industry, government, academia and law enforcement.

The PDSC’s cyber-crime priorities are:

  • To establish a police-backed Digital Security Provider Certification Scheme to provide consumers with a list of trusted organisations to meet their individual security needs

  • To enable organisations to demonstrate they have taken the necessary steps to improve their security posture through our Digitally Aware and Digitally Resilient Schemes

  • To help organisations who lack support in dealing with the most common types of cyber-crime by providing impartial advice and guidance through our In The Community outreach programme

  • To deliver a range of accredited Cyber Security Training Courses through the Police Crime Prevention Academy

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The PDSC has launched the first police-backed cyber-security certification schemes in collaboration with BSI (British Standards Institution), the UK’s national standards body, to help support organisations with digital security challenges.

The combination of two well-known and trusted brands will help police forces signpost small and medium organisations towards a list of locally based companies who have successfully achieved the Digital Security Providers certification by consistently demonstrating compliance with tough industry standards. It will also help police forces champion local organisations who have successfully achieved the Digitally Aware or Digitally Resilient certificate, generating opportunities for them to grow and innovate online.

The PDSC regularly runs a series of events across the UK visiting local businesses with the aim of sharing detailed advice about cyber-crime.

Utilising an extensive network of partners, including local police forces, Business Improvement Districts (BIDs), Chambers of Commerce, Professional bodies and others, the PDSC connect with local communities to provide practical support on how to improve security on site.

The PDSC also run Breakfast Seminars, Cyber Security Clinics and practical workshops to help organisations improve their security:

  • The digital security seminars typically consist of 1-2 hour interactive sessions, delivered by a member of the PDSC team. The content of each seminar is driven by local need and could include a general overview of digital security issues or a more focused discussion about a specific problem, such as how to prevent a business being affected by ransomware.

  • The clinics are there to raise any cyber security questions organisations may have with the PDSC. Conversations are on a one-to-one basis, confidential and enable businesses to understand what security means to them.

The PDSC is part of Police Crime Prevention Initiatives (PCPI), a police owned organisation that works on behalf of the Police Service to deliver a wide range of crime prevention and demand reduction initiatives across the UK.

PCPI are a not-for-profit organisation who raise their own money at no cost to the Police Service or the public purse. Being a police organisation, PCPI has close working links with the National Police Chief’s Council (NPCC) and Police and Crime Commissioners and have a governance board whose members include senior police officers from each of the four Home Nations.

As part of PCPI, and building on the success of the Secured by Design (SBD) brand which has been established for 30 years, the PDSC is uniquely placed to deliver a truly joined-up and consistent approach to tackling cyber-crime.