Worcestershire aims to establish itself as a national centre of excellence for cyber security. That means developing its existing cyber sector in tandem with improving the cyber security of businesses based in Worcestershire.

There has been action on many fronts – not least via the Be Cyber Secure programme, which has been running since 2014. This European and local authority-funded programme provides a comprehensive range of cyber security Support and, potentially, grants of up to £20,000 to enable Worcestershire SMEs to improve their cyber security and for local cyber businesses to develop new products and markets.

The last few grants are ready to be allocated to local SMEs but they need to apply quickly as the application deadline is September 13. Businesses wanting to benefit from the programme should contact Worcestershire County Council without delay.

It’s important that these types of schemes are fully utilised, because research by the FSB shows that small businesses are collectively subject to almost 10,000 cyber-attacks every day. One in five small firms say a cyber-attack has been committed against them in the two years to January 2019, with more than seven million individual attacks reported over the same period.

While more small firms are taking the threat of cybercrime more seriously, many lack the resources and budgets needed to tackle the threat more effectively.

Others also have key roles to play: Government should invest more in cyber upskilling for police personnel as part of its wider recruitment push; banks should be building more resilience into banking and payments systems, and made liable for the losses of business customers when they fall victim to cyber-crime; and software providers could also be doing more by making automatic patching and updates the default option for all software products.

After all, given the scale of the challenge, concerted action by all involved is the only way to tackle the threat from cyber-crime.