How to prevent a cyber attack

With recent high profile cyber-attacks, like the one which disabled the NHS and hit 150 countries, more and more companies are looking at their own protection and asking: is it enough? Here, Business East Sussex looks at what businesses can do to limit their risks in the event of such an attack.

It was the ransomware attack that brought the NHS to its knees.

The virus exploits a flaw in Microsoft Windows identified by, and stolen from, US intelligence.

But, if you keep your systems up-to-date, you should be safer than those that don’t.

Recent visitors to our Cyber Attack event in Crowborough were told first-hand how ransomware can take over your computer, lock your systems and demand you make a payment… the ‘ransom’, to release your files. They also learnt how to limit the risk of falling victim to such an assault.

Microsoft says it released a Windows security update in March to tackle the problem involved in the latest attack, but many users were yet to run it.

There are a number of easy-to-implement defences against ransomware which very considerably reduce the risk of attack and the impact of successful attacks.


Unfortunately, these simple steps to protect against ransomware are not being applied by either the public or organisations as thoroughly as they should be. These are:

  1. Keep your organisation’s security software patches up to date
  2. Use proper anti-virus software services
  3. Most importantly for ransomware, back up the data that matters to you, because you can’t be held to ransom for data you hold somewhere else.

Home users and small businesses can take the following steps to protect themselves:

  1. Run Windows Update
  2. Make sure your AntiVirus product is up to date and run a scan – If you don’t have one install one of the free trial versions from a reputable vendor
  3. If you have not done so before, this is a good time to think about backing important data up – You can’t be held to ransom if you’ve got the data somewhere else.

You can also download the latest security updates for a host of Windows’ products here:

Windows Server 2003 SP2 x64, Windows Server 2003 SP2 x86, Windows XP SP2 x64, Windows XP SP3 x86, Windows XP Embedded SP3 x86, Windows 8 x86, and Windows 8 x64.

As Ian Smallwood, Head of Business Services of Business East Sussex, explains: “We’re here to help businesses with whatever they need and that does not always mean financial support.

“In 2017 it has become increasingly apparent that this means helping SMEs with their cyber security and IT infrastructure. That’s why we have held an event on cyber security this year with an IT expert and it’s why we’re holding an event on cloud computing  in conjunction with Microsoft and Sussex firm Astec Computing.”

The event, which will take place 9.30am to 12.30pm on Wednesday, 24 May at Business at Ocean House, St Leonards-on-Sea, is aimed at managing directors and financial directors.

To express an interest in attending this exclusive event, businesses should visit:

Blog: debunking the myths of cloud computing

Here Phil Astell, Managing Director of Astec Computing, looks at the benefits of cloud computing:

There’s no question that moving your business IT into the cloud has huge benefits such as lower costs, flexible mobile working, collaborative working, improved scalability, business automation and reduced deployment times. But with the bewildering amount of contradictory information floating around on the Internet, not many really understand exactly what it means or what it entails.

Office 365 is a great way for businesses of all sizes to start moving to the cloud. It is a hugely capable platform offering so much more than another way to buy desktop Office products. Even those already using Office 365, often don’t realise the power and capabilities of the platform and therefore don’t extract the huge business benefits available to them.

Here we look at some of the myths that have built up around cloud computing:

Office 365 is just Office tools in the cloud and I can only use it online.

Office 365 is a suite of cloud-based productivity services, which can include: all of the Office desktop applications you already know and use, including Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and OneNote, with the added benefit of being licensed, deployed, and updated as a service. These applications are installed on your devices (up to five of your devices per account), so they’re available even when you are offline. And you have the option to store data in the cloud.

Also included are a growing number of powerful business productivity tools including:

  • Exchange Online for email & calendaring.
  • SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business for collaboration, websites, workflows, and enterprise file sync and share.
  • Skype for Business for voice, instant messaging, meetings, and presence.
  • Yammer for social collaboration.
  • Sway for slick and easy presentations.
  • Planner for task and project management.
  • Flow to create automated business workflows.
  • PowerApps to create powerful business apps without coding.

Keeping data on-premises is safer than in the cloud.

It’s becoming increasingly clear that your on-premises systems aren’t inherently more secure than they’d be in the cloud. Microsoft hires the best and brightest when it comes to thwarting security breaches and have the scale and resources most companies can only dream about. As good as your on premises security may be, it will always be a poor match for what the likes of Microsoft will invest in this area.

To keep Office 365 security at the pinnacle of industry standards, their dedicated security team uses processes such as the Security Development Lifecycle; traffic throttling; and preventing, detecting, and mitigating breaches that many companies don’t have the resources to ensure. Microsoft Office 365 has a 99.9 percent financially backed uptime guarantee. Additionally, Microsoft employ industry-leading regulatory compliance experts. They know and keep up to date with the latest regulations and rules.

If you want to know more, visit Office 365 Trust Centre at

If our data moves to the cloud, our business will no longer have control over our technology.

When you move to the cloud, headaches and time spent maintaining hardware and upgrading software are significantly reduced. This means you have far more control and oversight and now you and your team can focus on the business rather than maintaining your IT infrastructure. You have more time to spend improving business operations and launching agile initiatives.

I have to move everything to the cloud; it is an all-or-nothing scenario.

While the benefits of cloud are potentially huge, no one would really advocate fork-lifting your entire enterprise to the cloud over the weekend. Most implementations start with a hybrid approach, moving a single application, like email, and growing from there.

Many companies are moving productivity workloads to the cloud; the path for each is different, and the time it takes for those migrations varies. We can help you move workloads such as file sync and share (OneDrive for Business) or email (Exchange) first, and then help you figure out the right long-term plan for more difficult or larger projects. It may be that you eventually move your entire business to the cloud or it could be the case that it is more appropriate to maintain a hybrid approach.

Corporate spies, cyber thieves, and governments will have access to my data if it is in the cloud.

This is a top fear many businesses have about the cloud. But it’s unfounded. You decide on access rights and restrictions. Your company remains the sole owner: you retain the rights, title, and interest in the data stored in Office 365.

Microsoft operate under several key principles when it comes to safeguarding your data:

  • They do not mine your data for advertising or for any purpose other than providing you services that you have paid for.
  • If you ever choose to leave the service, you take your data with you.
  • Privacy controls allow you to configure who in your organisation has access and what they can access.
  • Extensive auditing and supervision prevent admins from unauthorised access to

your data.

Strict controls and design elements prevent mingling of your data with that of other organisations. Even Microsoft data centre staff do not have access to your data.


Moving some or all of your infrastructure to the cloud can seem daunting but with the right approach, there are huge potential benefits to be gained. Of course there is much to consider and careful planning with your cloud technology partner is a must. How far down the path towards cloud technology your company goes is very dependent on your organisation’s circumstances, needs and aspirations but hopefully you now appreciate that many of the perceived barriers and concerns are unfounded myths.

Business East Sussex is teaming up with Microsoft, Astec Computing and Hastings Chamber of Commerce to give a brand new innovative and interactive seminar on the value of using Office 365.

The event, which will take place 9.30am to 12.30pm on Wednesday, 24 May at Business at Ocean House, St Leonards-on-Sea, is aimed at managing directors and financial directors.

To express an interest in attending this exclusive event, businesses should visit:

Introducing the Business East Sussex Growth Hub Team

Introducing the Business East Sussex Growth Hub Team

On hand to give your business the advice you need to succeed.

One of the greatest stresses that small enterprises experience is the need for good advice across all areas including finding the right funding, particularly when looking to expand.

Our team of experienced advisors are dedicated to assisting businesses in East Sussex finding the funding and other forms of support that they need to develop.

The Business East Sussex Growth Hub is managed by The Let’s Do Business Group a not for profit company that has been helping enterprises in the South East of England for over 20 years.

The Growth Hub offers 3 FREE hours of quality business advice from our friendly and experienced team to help your enterprise meet its true potential.

Our reputation for providing excellent business support is growing and to meet the demand from our growing customer base, so is our team. So who are the people behind Business East Sussex Growth Hub?

Meet our experienced and friendly team

Ian Smallwood is the head of Business Services for the Let’s Do Business Group and Manager of the Business East Sussex Growth Hub. Ian has been working very closely with businesses for more than 20 years and has used this time to develop an intricate understanding of the finance and support that businesses need.

New to the Growth Hub is Chris Smith. Chris has worked for the Let’s Do Business Group for three years, prior to which he has 30 years of experience working in commercial banking for HSBC. Initially Chris was on the Start-Up Loans team at Let’s Do Business, this enabled Chris to gain a wealth of experience working with business owners in varying sectors.

Fred Thomas Business Support Navigator ran his own business for 17 years as well as having sales and retail management experience. From running his own business, Fred has learnt first-hand the opportunities and challenges that businesses in the South-East face.

If you need business advice – just #AskBES

If you are an East Sussex business, you can qualify for 3 FREE hours of business advice from one of our team.

What are you waiting for? Contact one of our friendly team members today and get the help and advice you need to grow your business.


Business East Sussex – Here for You Every Step of The Way

Business East Sussex – Here for You Every Step of The Way

Find out how Business East Sussex has already helped scores of East Sussex Businesses – how can they help you?

Break free from the constraints that are holding your business back from achieving its true potential with the Business East Sussex growth hub (BES).

Whatever stage your business is in, BES offers dependable, unparalleled advice from highly qualified consultants.

BES navigator Fred Thomas has over 17 years of valuable experience in running his own business.

From this, Fred has developed an intricate understanding of the importance of every single stage that your businesses will go through.

After leaving a job in the pharmaceutical industry, motorcycle fanatic Gary Davis Miller needed advice on the crucial first steps of setting up his Motorcycle Training School.

Gary turned to the friendly consultants at BES and worked closely with Fred who assisted him in understanding the business environment and the extent of support he had available.

Gary stated that this support was “instrumental in helping him get his business off the ground”.

Kerry Byott launched her specialist recruitment consultancy Top That Job back in early 2015 and has used Fred’s advice to keep her business on track at times when she hasn’t known where to turn. Kerry couldn’t believe how easily accessible Business East Sussex is and is grateful for the support that Fred and the team have given her.

Gary Barlow from Skinners of Rye was looking for advice on expanding his business but wasn’t sure of what help was available. Gary was fortunate to find BES and Fred has provided business support with great results. Gary successfully applied for funding and managed to expand his business by relocating to his exciting new premises.

Since Business East Sussex began in the July of 2015, over 200 businesses have received advice and help throughout the East Sussex region to start-up and grow. This has been achieved through the hard work and determination of the consultants in connecting business owners with the finance, support organisations, services, information, and events that they need to grow and succeed.

Exporting is GREAT


SMEs from the South East of England are heading to Japan from 8 – 12 February 2016 to undertake a trade and investment programme. With a packed agenda, their itinerary includes a Green Tech Forum and business to business meetings with local companies.

One of the SMEs attending the trip, Cella Energy, based in Didcot, currently exports lightweight, high performance hydrogen storage materials for aerospace and unmanned aerial systems (UAVs). Managing Director, Stephen Bennington, says: “We already export to Europe and the USA. We now want to move into Japan and, in turn, the wider markets in Asia.”

With the government having launched its most ambitious export campaign ever last November, Exporting is GREAT, now is the time for other local SMEs to consider export opportunities.

The campaign mission is to turn the UK into the world’s leading exporting nation by establishing confidence in UK business and inspiring more British companies to venture out into the global market. For export guides and live global export opportunities, visit the Exporting is GREAT website:

The demand is out there. You could be too.



#AskFred on Twitter

#AskFred. As you know, Business East Sussex (BES) is all about engaging local businesses across East Sussex.  Whether a business is established or just about to start, getting the right business advice is invaluable in making sure businesses thrive.

BES realise that Twitter is used regularly by business owners and is a great way to start conversations across the community.  For this reason, and as part of our ongoing Social Media strategy, we are launching #AskFred on Twitter. Our next hour will be on Friday 1st April between 1pm and 2pm.

#AskFred will be a regular monthly opportunity for businesses to use Twitter to talk to me informally about any business related queries they may have.  It will also give businesses a chance to talk to each other too.

How will it work?

All businesses need to do to join in the conversation and #AskFred is;

– Make sure they use #AskFred in their tweets, so Fred and others can see their tweets

– Have the search screen open on twitter with #AskFred selected so they can see the conversations as they take place

– Look at their notifications as they come in to reply to any tweets sent directly to them

So don’t forget! 1pm on Friday 1st April will be time to #AskFred on Twitter!

Please spread the word amongst your networks, and look out for posts on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.  All support in promoting this greatly appreciated.

Round 2 of Rother District Councils Community Grants Scheme is now open…

Round 2 of Rother District Council’s Community Grants Scheme is now open to groups and organisations whose work enhances the lives of residents from Bexhill, Battle, Rye and rural Rother. Applications must be received by 31st January 2016. To find out more please click here.

Community Grants Scheme

Rother District Council’s Community Grants Scheme supports the development of community facilities, community activities and sustainable local action.

Applications are welcomed from voluntary or community organisations for services and activities which benefit the residents of Rother.

Preference is given to groups or organisations that;

  • Have secured additional funding sources
  • Are able to demonstrate strong community support for their project from the community and local Councillors, and Town and Parish Councils
  • Can show how the on-going costs of their project will be met

There are three types of grants that may be funded:

Small value projects – Grants of under £500 can be applied for.  The maximum amount of funding for small grants in any one year is £5,000.  The maximum grant will be limited to 50% of the total cost of the project. Match funding may also be provided in-kind.

Medium Grants Scheme – £30,000 per year is ring-fenced for one-off grants of up to £5,000 each.  The maximum grant will be limited to 50% of the total costs and local support will be required on the basis of at least 30% of the funding towards the project or scheme.

Large Grants Scheme – The maximum grant for any project is £30,000.  Rother District Council will fund a maximum of 50% of the project or scheme.  It is necessary to demonstrate the long-term viability of the project, together with details of how on-going costs will be met.

Applications for medium and large grants are considered by the Grants Panel twice a year.  The Panel will then make recommendations to Cabinet who has the final decision.  You will then be contacted to confirm if your application has been successful and the amount of funding to be awarded.

Applications for the first round should be submitted between 1 April and 31 July with applications considered by Cabinet in September.

Applications for the second round should be submitted between 1 October and 31 January with applications considered by Cabinet in March.

Please note that Cabinet has the final say on all applications and there may be instances where applications that were originally approved by the Grants Panel and later declined by Cabinet.  Cabinet also has the right to amend funding amounts.

For further details please download a copy of the “Community Grants Guidance and Criteria Information” and examples of grants previously awarded. You can access the press release here for the 2015/16 Round 2, which is currently open for applications.

Please contact: (Tel: 01424 787864) for further information.

Want to grow your business significantly? Consider a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP)

Funding from the government to pay for cutting edge knowledge and expertise from universities.

The University of Brighton is an expert on KTPs. Join Dr Aidan Delaney and team to find out more about how this scheme could boost your business: Monday 18th Jan, midday at Cohub, Eastbourne – tickets are free at

East Sussex Business grants and loans

Companies in East Sussex are being offered help to grow and create new jobs through a new funding scheme delivered by Locate East Sussex that is backed by East Sussex County Council.

This is the latest phase of a programme of business support that has already paid out around £4.5 million in grants and loans over the past three years.

The scheme is funded by East Sussex County Council and by loan repayments from previous funding rounds, which were backed by the Government’s Regional Growth Fund, and administered by business support service Locate East Sussex.

The grants and loans for business are as follows:

East Sussex Invest 4 (ESI4)

Business Growth Funding

East Sussex Invest 4 (ESI 4) is a £1.3m annual fund focusing on business growth and job creation through grants and loans to businesses for capital investment. The fund is divided into £300k grants and £1m loans delivered in partnership with Locate East Sussex

There is an additional apprenticeship grant of £1.5k for a new, accredited apprentice position which can be claimed after the position has been filled for 6 months. This is a one off payment with no match or evidence of spend required. One per business allowed.

see guidelines (opens new window) (Adobe PDF, 58k)

Locate East Sussex are the first point of call for this funding – take a look here for more information –

Catalysing Stalled Sites fund (CaSS)

CaSS fund now open for applications (£600k available). See guidance notes (opens new window) (Adobe PDF, 76k). EOI forms available from

Submission deadline: 25 January 2016

Commercial Property Fund

See guidelines: Upgrading Empty Commercial Property Fund (opens new window) (Adobe PDF, 46k)

Capital fund to assist bringing back into use unused commercial property.

All enquiries to Locate East Sussex at:

Business Incubator Fund

The Business Incubator Fund supports the creation (new build or conversion) of a minimum of three Business Incubation Centres.

Business Incubator Fund

Have your say – What do you really think of regulation and planning?

If you are involved in running a business in Sussex, and want to save money and time, tell us how regulators and planners can assist your business. Helping businesses to prosper is a priority for the Local Authorities and working in partnership with local businesses through a project called Better Business for All we want to hear your views so that we can make it quicker and easier for you to comply with the law. Therefore giving you more time to grow your business.

Please take 10 -15 minutes to give us your honest feedback about your experiences of regulation and planning and how you think we can make the process quicker and easier for you.

Please click here to complete the survey

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