Cybersecurity is a must for a successful digital transition –

SMEs – key cog in the wheel of the EU economy.

The World Economic Forum has stated in its annual report that was published earlier this year that cybersecurity is one of the top ten risks for businesses globally. And evidently, this is very important from the viewpoint of small and medium sized companies. This is because we should re-call that SMEs contribute to half of European GDP at present. At a time of serious economic challenges, we must do more to protect, promote and grow opportunities for small and medium sized enterprises. The EU needs our SMEs to prosper as we seek to collectively re-build the economy of Europe in a safe and secure manner.

Practical advice to SMEs to reduce cyber risk.

I welcome the EIT Digital, the Global Digital Foundation and the Huawei Questions and Answers cybersecurity guide for SMEs that was published this week in Brussels. This joint publication will help to protect further the supply chains in Europe.

Many cyber-attacks are focused on SMEs operating within the EU supply chain. In fact, ENISA (The EU Agency for Cybersecurity) has found that cyber-attacks against the EU supply chain have accounted for 17% of all cyber-attacks – compared to 1% only last year.

This guide is very useful and practical in that it helps SMEs to identify different and complex cyber-attacks. SMEs need to make their staff aware of the nature of malware, phishing, web based and DDoS cyber-attacks. Companies need to communicate carefully with staff and explain how to act so as to reduce cyber risk. One should re-call that 60% of cyber-attacks relate to human error. And this is why it is so important that people should use strong passwords and manage vulnerabilities within the products and services that they provide. There are some very good materials available in this guide that can help and advise SMEs reduce the risk of cyber-attacks. For example, every member state has a CSIRT office. Each Computer Security Incident Response Team located within the 27 EU member state can help SMEs with advice to counter cyber-attacks. ENISA also have a lot of strong materials on the subject too.

EU action in the area of improving cybersecurity is growing.