The London Digital Security Centre has opened in London to help SMEs protect themselves from cyber criminals.

The centre, which is the first in England, has come to fruition after being recommended as part of the  Mayor’s Business Crime Strategy in July 2014.

Recent government figures found that cyber-crime was causing firms to lose millions of pounds each year with 74% of SMEs having been attacked in 2014-15.

The LDSC will now look to combat such attacks and has recieved £325,000 in funding from the the Mayor’s Office for Policing And Crime to help it get off the ground.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “Cyber security is of critical importance to London’s small businesses, which employ millions across the capital and bring in billions to our economy. We want all these organisations to be able to protect themselves from harmful cyber-crime and cyber-enabled fraud. For the first time, small businesses in London will have affordable access to support from the best minds in the digital policing world, alongside those with the know-how to hack into systems and advise on securing them.

“The London Digital Security Centre builds on the work we’re already doing to support businesses in the digital age and make sure London remains the number one place in the world to do business.’’

Stephen Greenhalgh, the Deputy Mayor for Policing And Crime, who has visited the centre and been shown how systems can be attacked in a demonstration from an ethical hacker said the Mayor’s office was keen to protect London’s startups.

He said: “The impact of fraud is devastating, and the digital security of London’s businesses, especially smaller enterprises and entrepreneurial startups, is something we take extremely seriously. The new Met FALCON unit, with 300 dedicated officers, is doing some excellent work in our fight against online crime and fraud, but businesses must make securing their digital infrastructure as integral to their business as securing their premises. The LDSC goes a long way to help this, providing a one stop shop to help businesses build up their resilience and protect themselves from online crime.”

The LDSC is built on model currently used in Scotland by the Scottish Business Resilience Centre, and has received significant private sector support, including training from Barclays and RBS.

Patrick Nuttall, head of the London Digital Security Centre, said: “We have consulted extensively with SMEs in London and we know the demand is there for a trusted, affordable resource to provide cyber security advice and support. Digital technologies have transformed small and medium businesses in London, bringing a world of new opportunities for innovation, commerce and efficiency. But going digital also brings with it risks.

“The LDSC is here to help London businesses – who may not be able to afford the sort of in-house expertise found in larger companies – to identify and manage those risks, enabling them to safely harness the power of technology without breaking the bank.”

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