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Half of firms hit by cyber security attack last year

Just under half of all British businesses were victim to at least one cyber security breach last year, according to a government report. The 2017 report, commissioned by the Department for Culture Media and Sport, found that 46 per cent of all businesses discovered at least one cyber security breach in 2016, with the average cost to firms ranging between 1,570 and 19,600. It pointed out that larger firms tend to incur much more substantial costs from cyber security attacks, which it said could reflect the increased complexity of the breaches, or because they have more sophisticated systems that are harder to repair. The report, which is part of the government s National Cyber Security Programme, warned that costs could come from the loss of customers, data or assets, handling customer complaints, and dishing out compensation, fines or legal fees. This comes after cyber experts warned1 that improvements to banks cyber systems could displace some of the threats onto other sectors, such as financial advice businesses. The cost can rise into the millions, with the loss often ultimately borne by the financial sector.

Marcus Scott

According to the government survey, only a third of the 1,523 businesses questioned have a formal policy on cyber security in place. However, it found that small businesses were more likely to have installed cyber security systems than they were last year, with almost a quarter now having formal processes in place, up from 15 per cent in 2016. The study, which was conducted in January and February this year, said this aligns with the increasing importance these smaller businesses now attach to cyber security. A positive picture was also painted in terms of the speed with which businesses identify breaches, with 90 per cent of firms recognising an attack within 24 hours.

The report found that 60 per cent of the 350 financial firms questioned outsource their cyber security to specialist providers. Marcus Scott, chief operating officer at think tank the City UK, said cyber security is increasingly becoming one of the biggest challenges facing businesses. While the average cost of a breach is 20,000, this can rise into the millions, with the loss often ultimately borne by the financial sector. Earlier this year, the City UK set up a task force to help boost understanding of cyber risk and encourage firms to take action to tackle the problem, such as working on system recovery issues and sharing best practices across other businesses. It also recommended that cyber security be managed effectively by boards, echoing advice in the report about the need for oversight of security issues at a board level. Other recommendations from the City UK included making sure cyber risk is a part of the entire business strategy. The government report found there were more breaches reported by those firms taking action to protect themselves, which it suggested could indicate that they are better at identifying when their systems have been compromised.


  1. ^ cyber experts warned (

The view from Creeting St Peter: Mid Suffolk: what does cutting tax …

Amidst all the talk of cutting the welfare budget by 12 billion per annum, the focus has been on tax credits after all, given that pensions have been fixed through the triple lock , there is less scope for reductions otherwise. But, whilst there is a general acceptance that we need to ensure that benefits follow need, the actual impact on families, working or otherwise, can easily be lost in a snowstorm of statistics. So, what is at stake for residents of Mid Suffolk? The average number of families (rounded to the nearest hundred) claiming either Working Tax Credit (WTC), or Child Tax Credit (CTC), or both, was as follows in 2013-14;

  • 1,100 out-of-work families
  • 1,800 in-work families with children, claiming WTC and CTC
  • 1,500 in-work families with children, claiming CTC only
  • 500 in-work families with no children, claiming WTC

Of the 3,300 families with children claiming WTC and/or CTC, 1,200 of them were single parent households. The average amount received per household was;

  • 6,291 – out-of-work families
  • 8,601 – in-work families with children, claiming WTC and CTC
  • 3,513 – in-work families with children, claiming CTC only
  • 2,447 – in-work families with no children, claiming WTC

The average amount received, per household, was 5,951. Given the suggestion that an average of 1,400 will be lost per household through the cuts, one might assume that the biggest blow in cash terms will fall upon in-work families with children, ironically, the very group of people that politicians of all hues have been saying need to be focused on most. There is no doubt that, here in Mid Suffolk, we re relatively fortunate.

Unemployment is low – 2.7%, compared to 5.3% across the county, and 6.4% in England (Q4, 2014) – and earnings relatively good.

But, for those people who have come to rely on the top-up to their income that tax credits provide, and who are unlikely to have much in the way of financial resilience – low (or no) savings, little scope to increase earnings immediately – any cut will lead to, at the very least, transitional hardship, and in some cases, to domestic crisis.

Yes, we need to ensure that we develop a social security system that is sustainable in the long-term and which protects the poor and vulnerable, but Iain Duncan-Smith, George Osborne and their Conservative colleagues need to understand that government is not just about numbers, it’s about people.

* Interested in the data, either for MId Suffolk or for your own area? Here’s the data…1


  1. ^ Here’s the data… (

Case Study: New Donation Box at Essex Police Museum

Donation box BEFORE the SHARED Enterprise Grant...

Donation box BEFORE the SHARED Enterprise Grant

SHARED Enterprise1 is a HLF Catalyst-Funded project supporting museums throughout the East of England to explore new ways of generating income and to make better use of existing financial opportunities. Becky Wash, Curator of Essex Police Museum2, talks about her recent experience of working with SHARED Enterprise and a step they ve taken to increase their income.

The Increasing Individual Giving training session run by SHARED Enterprise allowed those on the course to apply for a grant of up to 500 to improve access to individual giving.

The Essex Police Museum costs 40,000 a year to run and has been self-funded for the last three years. The museum is a registered charity and has successfully found funding from online giving, gift aid and setting up a Payroll Giving Scheme.

The museum s donations box a small clear box that sat on a small table near the main entrance is the only donations box in the museum.

Although it did bring in some money we felt it was low down and easily missed by visitors.

The grant allowed us to apply for funding so we could purchase a new and improved box.

We looked at the variety of donations boxes available:

  • Donation Buckets
  • Charity Pots
  • Box with a hole for a coin or folded notes
  • Interactive donations box

Then we looked at the prices and picked ourselves up from the floor!

We wanted something that looked professional but was affordable and meant something to our museum.

Interactive boxes are fun but they are normally filled with coppers rather than notes.

Someone suggested that we make a box from an old police helmet but I wanted to make sure that we continued to use a transparent box.

It allows the visitor to see exactly how much is in it before they make their donation. There has been some research into the use of transparent donations boxes and this YouTube video3 explains a case study in more detail.

We have always and continue to leave a float of 10 in our donations box made up of a 5 note, 2 coin, 2 x 1 coins and 2 x 50p coins. It most certainly discourages any coppers (unlike our non-see through boxes which we leave at Essex Police Reception and the local corner shop).

We often see a note or two in our box but the majority of coins that enter the box are gold.

So we went back to our original clear box how could we improve it?

Essex Police Museum Donation Box

and the donation box AFTER the grant

Our answer was to improve the box signage and to make the clear box prominent.

I contacted a carpenter friend of mine and explained what I wanted.

The finished piece was a traditional looking Police Box measuring 85cm high, almost double the height of the original table.

The box most definitely stands out and we have had many positive comments, but it is early days yet to say whether the box has helped to increased donations to the museum.

The project cost 150 in total which also included the price of a new plastic box (with lock) and new signage (not seen in the photos).


  1. ^ SHARED Enterprise (
  2. ^ Essex Police Museum (
  3. ^ Clear Donation Boxes (