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Free cyber security support for small charities

Melanie May | 13 January 2023 | News

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The National Cyber Security Centre is offering small charities free practical support to help put cyber security controls in place.

Part of GCHQ, the National Cyber Security Centre’s  new Funded Cyber Essentials Programme offers some small organisations in high-risk sectors practical support for free to help them put baseline cyber security controls in place.

The NCSC’s initiative, funded by government and delivered by IASME, will see eligible organisations receive 20 hours of expert support to help implement the five technical measures needed to gain Cyber Essentials certification – firewalls, secure settings, access controls, malware and software updates.


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The offer is currently available to micro or small businesses that offer legal aid services and micro or small charities that process personal data, for example those working in safeguarding such as domestic abuse charities or online chat support services.

The focus of the programme is to support sectors which are at relatively greater risk of cyber attack because of the sensitive information they handle and because organisations typically have a lower level of cyber maturity.

Sarah Lyons, NCSC Deputy Director for Economy and Society Resilience said:

“Charities and legal aid firms do incredible work supporting vulnerable people when they need it most, and that’s why it is vital they take steps to protect sensitive data.


“The new Funded Cyber Essentials Programme is a great opportunity for small organisations to gain free assistance with putting key cyber security protections in place.


“I strongly encourage organisations to register so they can boost their cyber resilience and help reduce the chances of falling victim to a potentially damaging cyber attack.”

Dr Emma Philpott MBE, CEO of the IASME Consortium which delivers the programme for government, said:

“The Funded Cyber Essentials programme is aimed at some of the smallest and most vulnerable organisations in the UK. It is designed to encourage and support them to implement the minimum cyber security technical controls.


“Through the programme, IASME’s network of cyber security experts are able to use their skills to help those who need support most. The programme aims to protect small charities and legal aid firms, and the sensitive data they hold, from common internet threats.”

Cyber Essentials is a government-backed certification scheme which helps organisations of all sizes guard against online threats and demonstrate a commitment to cyber security to customers, service users and stakeholders. More than 31,000 Cyber Essentials and Cyber Essentials Plus certificates were issued in 2022.

As part of the new programme, eligible organisations will receive free support from a Cyber Essentials assessor to help implement the technical controls. This will be followed by hands-on verification that the measures are in place, with a view to the organisation achieving Cyber Essentials Plus.

More information about the funded programme and eligibility criteria can be found on the NCSC website. Eligible organisations can register their interest via the IASME website.