A popular grants scheme which helps charities boost their cyber resilience has returned for 2019.

Funded by the Scottish Government and managed by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO), the scheme will support charities with grants of up to £1,000 to help them achieve Cyber Essentials accreditation.

Cyber security threats are growing, but many charities still haven’t taken the basic actions they need to protect themselves. Research published in 2017 showed that while one in five UK charities had reported a cyber breach, just over half identified cyber security as a key priority, and almost three quarters hadn’t invested in cyber security.

Following the success of the previous round which supported 56 organisations to achieve Cyber Essentials accreditation, the initiative has now been scaled up to offer funding to a further 60 third sector organisations across Scotland over the next 12 months.

Kate Forbes, Minister for Public Finance and Digital Economy, said: “This £500,000 Scottish Government grant will help charities and small to medium-sized businesses across Scotland improve their cyber security.

“Charities are increasingly reliant on IT and technology, however some are falling victim to a range of malicious cyber activity which is putting their valuable funds, assets and good reputation at risk.

“This fund offers grants up to £1,000 towards cyber essentials accreditation, protecting against the most common forms of internet-borne cyber-attacks. This demonstrates to supporters, donors and beneficiaries that charities are protecting their data.

“I would strongly encourage organisations in the third sector to consider their own cyber resilience by making use of this grant and utilise the excellent resources and support available from SCVO, together with the National Cyber Security Centre.”

Churches Action for the Homeless is just one of the organisations who has benefitted from the grants. The group’s Alison Adams said: “With the support provided by SCVO and the guidance that we received from our IT Support provider, Churches Action for the Homeless found the accreditation process very straightforward. We hope that this achievement demonstrate to all of our stakeholders how seriously we take cyber security.”

David McNeill, SCVO Digital Director, said: “Charities are increasingly vulnerable to cyber risks so it’s really important that they take action to keep themselves and their data safe. We’re delighted to be launching this new grants round with the Scottish Government, and we’re looking forward to helping dozens of Scottish charities boost their cyber resilience.”

Larger charities or organisations which have already completed Cyber Essentials Accreditation can apply for Cyber Essentials Plus Accreditation, and IT suppliers can also apply on behalf of charities they are working with.

More information on applying can be found at https://scvo.org/digital/evolution/cyber-resilience/apply-for-a-cyber-essentials-grant

The deadline for applications is Friday 26 April.