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Launch of Cyber Readiness Program: Empowering SMBs to improve cybersecurity

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The Cyber Readiness Institute (CRI) has announced the launch of the Cyber Readiness Program, backed by global enterprise leaders, to educate and equip small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) with tools and resources to address four primary cybersecurity issues: authentication, phishing, patching, and USB use.

The program focuses on embedding basic cyber policies and processes into a company’s operating culture. The goal is to engage a company’s entire workforce, create a culture of cyber readiness, and build a more cyber secure and resilient organisation.

“The internet is an amazing thing that has opened new doors and new opportunities for all. At the same time, it does not have an inherent prioritisation of security,” said Ajay Banga, president and CEO, Mastercard and co-chair, The Cyber Readiness Institute.

“Since cyber threats treat everyone the same, there are some foundational steps we can take to strengthen all the links in today’s supply chain. And that starts with best practices and proven tools for smaller business owners who do not have the same resources to invest in these efforts. That’s where CRI comes in.”

According to the Verizon 2018 Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR), 58% of data breach victims globally are small businesses. On top of this, many SMBs report doing very little to protect themselves because they lack the required resources, capabilities, and knowledge to do so.

The Cyber Readiness Program was developed with input from leading security experts at global companies, subject matter experts, and feedback from a pilot program of SMBs.

The free, self-guided online program provides resources and tools – including policies, posters, and workforce education materials – that align with each step of the program’s five-stage process. Companies are prompted to designate a Cyber Leader, who already works within their organisation, to take ownership of the program.

For companies primarily interested in the policies and communications materials of the Program, an Awareness Kit is also available.

“Cyber threats show no prejudice when it comes to who is targeted, and more often than not, SMBs are becoming the victim of choice for adversaries. This program will not only educate individual businesses, but also ignite a more concerted effort to better secure our global economy by securing global value chains,” said Samuel J. Palmisano, retired president and CEO, IBM Corporation and current chairman, The Centre for Global Enterprise.

“Cybersecurity is one of the most critical issues today for all companies. For small and medium-sized businesses, an incident or breach can have devastating consequences. Helping SMBs better manage top cyber challenges not only helps individual companies, it fosters stronger resilience across business ecosystems,” added Tom Burt, CVP, Customer Security & Trust, Microsoft.

Organisations can also get involved with the Cyber Readiness Program by becoming a Cyber Readiness Champion to raise awareness within their networks through website, social media, and email promotion.

To learn more or to sign up for the Program directly please visit:

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