Double delight as CyberSmart scoops two awards

We love an awards ceremony at CyberSmart. It’s a chance to wear long-neglected formal wear, snaffle a free dinner, and meet up with the people that make cybersecurity such a great industry to work in.

However, what we love even more than the glitz and glamour is winning. So imagine our delight when we were nominated for the 2022 SC Awards Europe and CompTIA Spotlight Awards and took home a gong at each. 

What were the awards?

The SC Awards Europe, run by SC Media UK, is one of the most prestigious events in the cybersecurity industry’s calendar. It aims to recognise and reward products and services that continue to stand out from the crowd, exceeding customer expectations to help defeat imminent threats and cybersecurity attacks.

The nominees and winners of these awards usually, read like a who’s who of the cybersecurity sector. So we were very happy to be nominated, particularly as we narrowly missed out on an award last year.

The Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) is a global leader in the training and upskilling of IT professionals. And, it’s one of the leading voices in our sector. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this makes the organisation’s annual awards ceremony a must-attend within the cybersecurity industry. 

What did we win? 

We won both the CompTIA UK Innovative Vendor Spotlight Award and SC Awards Europe’s Best SME Security Solution award.

We’re incredibly proud to win two such prestigious awards, especially amongst such impressive competition. We’d also like to say congratulations to all the other nominees and winners.

What comes next? 

Although we’re always thrilled to win awards, our work is far from done. We won’t stop until every small business has the knowledge and protection to keep themselves safe from cyberattacks.

As we write this, SMEs are being targeted like never before and there are still too many without adequate protection. And these awards, while proving we’re on the right track, only spur us on to help more small businesses.

To find out more about what drives us, read our latest guide, The State of UK SME Cybersecurity. It’s full of useful insights on the risks small businesses face and what can be done to counter them. Get your copy here.

State of SME cybersecurity

What is a DDoS attack?

The cybersecurity industry has long had a reputation for impenetrable jargon, be it tools, threats or solutions. So, in this blog, we’re demystifying another confusing term. What are ‘DDoS attacks’? Why should you be worried about them? And, most importantly of all, what can you do to stop them?

How does a DDoS attack work?

DDoS stands for Distributed Denial of Service. And it’s a very simple but potentially very disruptive premise. Cybercriminals pick a target, then flood its network with so much malicious traffic that it can’t operate as it usually would. The result is that legitimate traffic (such as shoppers or readers) grinds to a halt. 

You’ve probably seen this technique used before without necessarily putting a name to it. Google was hit with the largest attack on record in 2017. Meanwhile, Amazon Web Services fell foul of a gigantic attack in February 2020

How common is this kind of attack? 

DDoS attacks are more common than you might think and they’re on the rise. 2020 saw a 151% increase in the frequency of attacks in comparison to 2019. And, to make matters worse, cybercriminals are increasingly targeting small businesses with this kind of attack. 

How much damage can a DDoS attack do? 

A DDoS attack is highly disruptive for any business. But for big corporates, it’s usually something they can swallow. After all, for a multi-billion dollar business, a few days lost revenue and some disgruntled customers don’t have to spell disaster. 

However, for a small business, a DDoS attack can have serious consequences. A successful DDoS attack can take down entire websites and systems. This could mean lost revenue, breached data, reputational damage, dissatisfied customers, and a massive cleanup effort to get systems back up and running. In other words, a potentially critical situation for a small business with limited resources. 

What can you do to protect your business? 

We’ve painted a pretty scary picture so far. But that doesn’t mean small businesses are defenceless in the face of DDoS attacks. There’s plenty you can do to help your business avoid the worst-case scenario. 

Use a Web Application Firewall (WAF)

A WAF blocks suspicious traffic and prevents DDoS attacks from accessing your business’s servers. And, the best thing about a WAF is that it’s easy to customise for your business. For example, if you mostly do business in the UK, you could configure it to block all non-UK traffic. Or, you could take it a step further and blacklist traffic from markets renowned for attacks.

Of course, like all software, you need to ensure you’re patching regularly for it to be most effective. 

Learn to spot the signs

We’re always talking about the importance of security training for your staff and our advice is no different when it comes to preventing DDoS attacks. One of the key reasons that DDoS strikes are so hard to stop is so few people know how to recognise them – until it’s too late and business systems fail.

To give an example of what we mean, did you know a sudden surge in traffic – even for just a few minutes – could signal the start of an attack?

Even basic cybersecurity knowledge among staff about what the threats are, how to spot them, and what to do in the event of an attack, can help your business get a head start on cybercriminals.

For more on security training, read this

Be mindful of your supply chain

A huge proportion of cybersecurity attacks now begin in the supply chain. And, unfortunately, this includes DDoS attacks. Most SMEs are part of a supply chain and lack the security resources of larger partners, making them an enticing way for cybercriminals to attack more glittering prizes. 

These ‘attacks through the back door’ are becoming increasingly common. US retail giant Target was fined $18.5 million after a breach at its air conditioning partner led to the leak of millions of credit card details. 

So talk to your suppliers and partners about their cybersecurity practices and share experiences and advice. For those below you in the chain, this may mean asking for proof that their cybersecurity is in order. And for the bigger companies you service, this could mean agreeing to shared security practices and transparency in the event of a breach. 

Protecting your business on a budget is tricky. Calling in the experts or investing in the latest tools is expensive. So what can you do? CyberSmart Active Protect secures your business around the clock with no need for costly consultants, tools or an in-house team. Try it today.

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CyberSmart scoops two Security Excellence Awards

security excellence awards

Awards season is in full flow and it’s already been a successful one for CyberSmart, as we scooped two awards at Computing’s Security Excellence Awards 2021.

What are the Security Excellence Awards? 

Computing’s Security Excellence Awards celebrate the achievements of the tech industry’s leading security companies, products and personalities. Or, as they put it, ‘the ones who keep the rest of the industry operating’.

This year has been a particularly tough year for anyone working in cybersecurity. Remote and hybrid working have become commonplace, nation-state and ransomware attacks are on the rise, and a society that previously gave little thought to cybersecurity has suddenly been forced to start thinking about it in a big way.

These awards are a well overdue celebration of the best of a turbulent year. 

What did CyberSmart win?

We’re delighted to have won two awards, one for CyberSmart as a business, and the other for our SME-focused product, CyberSmart Active Protect. Here’s a little explanation of each award: 

Security Vendor of the Year – SMEs

“SMEs are often forced to make do with ageing infrastructure and legacy systems, and may be unable to defend themselves against new threats. This prize will go to the company that can best aid SMEs in their constant battle to avoid becoming the ‘low-hanging fruit’ of cybersecurity.”

SME Security Solution Award

“SMEs are prime targets to malicious agents, with small teams and often similar budgets. The cost of large and expensive security offerings can make SMEs feel priced out of the market, so in this category, we’re looking at affordable services that still offer the range and scope of security coverage any larger organisation typically enjoys.”

What does this mean for CyberSmart? 

First of all, we’re thrilled to have won these two awards, particularly as both focus on SMEs. Since our founding, we’ve made it our mission to make cybersecurity simpler and more affordable for SMEs. So, to be recognised at an awards ceremony for doing exactly that is proof we’re on the right track.

However, our work is far from done. SMEs are being targeted like never before and there are still too many without adequate protection. While welcome, these awards only add fuel to our fire for 2022 and beyond.

Protecting your business on a budget is tricky. Calling in the experts or investing in the latest tools is expensive. So what can you do? CyberSmart Active Protect secures your business around the clock with no need for costly consultants, tools or an in-house team. Try it today.

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CyberSmart wins innovative vendor of the year

Innovative vendor of the year

Today is a very proud day at CyberSmart. In a time where we could all do with cheer, we’ve got great news. We’ve won UK Innovative Vendor of the Year at the 2020 CompTIA UK Spotlight Awards.

Who is CompTIA?

CompTIA is a global not-for-profit trade association, promoting excellence in the tech industry. As part of CompTIA’s mission to elevate the best the tech world has to offer, it hosts an annual award ceremony celebrating outstanding contributions from the previous year.

What’s the award for?

CompTIA’s Innovative Vendor of the Year award is open to any tech business that has demonstrated innovation – whether within their own business, working with clients or impacting the wider industry. 

For 2020, the awards had an extra element. Candidates who have shown leadership in their community or industry during the pandemic have been given special consideration.

We’re honoured to have won Innovative Vendor of the Year. Our mission has always been to address the ‘cyber privilege gap’ between large enterprises who can afford the best in cybersecurity and SMEs who are often left behind. 

The COVID-19 crisis has made our work more important than ever. As many SMEs switch to permanent remote working, they’ve become a prime target for cybercriminals. And good cyber hygiene and access to cybersecurity knowledge have never been more vital to protecting small businesses. 

To win an award which recognises our own small contribution to a safer digital world is an honour. But it’s also a great motivation to double down on our efforts in 2021. 

We’d like to thank our backers, everyone at CyberSmart who made this nomination possible and, of course, small businesses everywhere. 

Are you a start-up looking to improve cybersecurity but not sure where to begin? Start by getting certified in Cyber Essentials, the UK government scheme that covers all the fundamentals of cyber hygiene.

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