New guidance to help small organisations use online services more securely

Tuesday, 20 February 2024

How to set up online (or 'cloud') services so they're protected against common cyber attacks.

Small organisations have become increasingly dependent on online services for their day-to-day IT tasks. Many organisations adopted these online services (also known as ‘cloud services') as staff transitioned to home-working as a result of the pandemic, and they continue to rely on them for home (or hybrid) based work.

Today, we are launching our new online services guidance tailored for small organisations. This is specifically written for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), who may be overwhelmed by our existing cloud security guidance (which is aimed squarely at IT professionals and contains a lot more technical details). Our new guidance will help SMEs use online services more securely, so that they’re less likely to be the victim of a cyber attack.

As the guidance explains, many SMEs already rely on online services for day-to-day tasks, even if they’re not aware of it. This includes email and instant message communications, cloud storage, website/shop hosting, online accounting and invoicing, or simply using social media to engage with customers. How long could your business operate without these critical functions if you couldn’t log onto your computers as a result of (for example) a ransomware attack? Or if you were locked out of an online account?

If you rely on any of these services, it’s important that they are set up in such a way that they’re safe from online risks, whilst also reflecting your organisation’s priorities. Reputable service providers make it easy for you to do this, and will often provide useful ‘getting started’ tutorials and guides, such as for organisations using Google Workspace (Security checklist for small businesses) or Microsoft 365 (Top 10 ways to secure your data with Microsoft 365).

The online services guidance is the latest NCSC publication specifically aimed at smaller organisations, who may not have access to dedicated IT/support staff. We’re always looking at ways to help SMEs navigate the often bewildering world of cyber security, so if you have any feedback on what would help, please get in touch using our enquiries page.


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