EXPERT help is being offered to micro-businesses and the self-employed across the district to improve their cyber security.

The Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership has commissioned a non-profit organisation to deliver a £100,000 support programme.

The North East Business Resilience Centre offers a range of cyber security services, using a team including police officers and university-based experts.

Those able to access the new help are the self-employed and businesses with fewer than ten employees in the Leeds City Region, which includes Keighley.

Latest figures show that cyber fraud has rocketed by 400 per cent during the pandemic period – and sole traders and small businesses have been at greatest risk.

Roger Marsh, chairman of the Leeds City Region Partnership, said: “We are continuing to support businesses against the impact of Covid-19.

“Cyber security is a key part of our recovery plans to produce resilient and thriving businesses.

“I am delighted to be working with the North East Business Resilience Centre on our new cyber resilience programme to help those that currently need it the most.

“This is a brilliant opportunity for micro-businesses to benefit from expert advice and I’d encourage all to get in touch and find out how they can mitigate cyber security risks and protect their business.”

The initiative is welcomed by West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Mark Burns-Williamson.

He said: “As we all know, it’s currently a very difficult time for many – and that goes for business too.

“The last thing any small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) needs right now is a cyber attack, so it’s fantastic that £100,000 worth of extra support is being put in place for prevention initiatives.

“These measures will help to safeguard against online criminals. And in the current climate, suffering an attack may well mean the difference between a business staying operational and closing.”

Police superintendent and North East Business Resilience Centre director, Rebecca Chapman, said: “We are proud to be part of this crucial, new programme, working with SMEs across the region to support cyber security in this modern age.”

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