Project summary

Around four in ten small businesses and two in ten charities in the UK suffered a cyber breach or attack in the past 12 months. The consequences of such an attack can be devastating for the victims. Most cyber criminals exploit basic security and human vulnerabilities. Businesses and charities can significantly reduce their chances of falling victim by following simple cyber security steps. 

As part of a Home Office funded project we are offering small businesses and charities, across the UK, a free cyber-security health check. The health check will walk you through the latest advice from the National Cyber Security Centre and give personalized advice on steps to improve your cyber security. 

This project is a collaboration between researchers at Coventry University, De Montfort University and the University of Kent, with expertise in computing, behavioural economics and finance. The project is funded by the Home Office and is run in collaboration with Kent Police and the National Cyber Security Centre.

How to take part in the project?

We are interested to hear from sole traders, micro-businesses (less than 10 employees), small-businesses (less than 50 employees) and small charities. 

What does the project involve?

You first fill out an online survey that will ask questions about your business or charity as well as your opinions and attitudes to cyber-security and risk in general. The survey will take around 20 minutes. You will then receive a free cyber-security health check from KITC Solutions, the University of Kent’s student-staffed IT Consultancy. The health check will take around an hour and can be arranged flexibly at a time to suit you. It can be in person or online via Skype or similar. After three months we will then ask you to fill in a short questionnaire looking at progress you have made in making you business or charity cyber-safe. We can reassure that participation in the project is fully anonymous. 

What can I expect to get out of the project?

By taking part in the project you will have the chance to reflect on your own cyber-awareness and security, and get practical advice on things that you can do to make your business or charity more secure. You will also contribute to research and help inform policy on how to make small businesses and charities cyber-safe.   

How do I sign up?

Please contact Jason Marshall and the team at KITC Solutions either through email or through their sign up page They will link you to the survey and arrange a time for the free health check.

More information about the project

There is abundant evidence that SMEs and charities take insufficient protection against cyber threats. For instance, only around a half of businesses and a third of charities have implemented all of the five basic controls listed under the UK Government’s Cyber Essentials Scheme. This means SMEs and charities are putting themselves at real risk of damaging cyber breach.

So, how can we empower SMEs and charities towards being cyber safe? This project will focus on the human aspects of cyber security and look at the barriers owners, managers, trustees, employees and volunteers face in implementing good cyber-security. Government campaigns such as Cyber Aware and Cyber Essentials provide lots of information for businesses and charities to act upon. But how do we turn that into action? This project is exploring simple, low-cost interventions to help SMEs and charities.