ITSec4KMU: Cybersecurity for SMEs - simply explained

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The Canton of Zug, Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts and the Swiss Academy of Engineering Sciences are jointly launching the ITSec4KMU program. Their aim: to support Swiss SMEs in the fight against cybercrime.

For many SMEs, cyberattacks are still an abstract and intangible threat and companies are often not sufficiently protected. There is a lack of low-threshold access to information that is specifically tailored to SMEs and presented in an understandable way. The Canton of Zug, Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts (HSLU) and the Swiss Academy of Engineering Sciences (SATW) want to close this gap: Together, they are therefore launching the ’IT Security for SMEs’ program, ITSec4KMU for short. The platform for cyber security, which has received around CHF 1.4 million in funding from the Canton of Zug as part of the Zug+ program, is now up and running.

No progress in implementing measures - despite increasing risks

Last year, attacks on Swiss SMEs increased by over 60 percent and are expected to continue to rise this year. As a recent study by gfs-Zurich shows, the implementation of measures to increase cyber security has stagnated for several years. SMEs still lack the time and understanding for the problem. SMEs feel that they are not targeted enough by cyber criminals and too often think that there is nothing to be gained from them - even though many attacks are widespread and not directed at a specific SME.

Access to understandable and relevant information

ITSec4KMU offers a range of information on the topic of cyber security that is specifically tailored to the needs, skills and interests of Swiss SMEs. ’We make the relevant information easily accessible. It is also important that SMEs become aware of this and that the platform develops into an important source of information,’ explains Heinz Tännler, member of the cantonal government and finance director of the Canton of Zug and president of ITSec4KMU. The aim is to create an initial awareness of cybersecurity so that SMEs can recognize what they are up against and implement appropriate initial measures for better cybersecurity protection. The platform, which is now online, forms the basis for the development and expansion of the network: ITSec4KMU plans to make direct contact with local companies via a network throughout the country, for example through partnerships with trade associations. Or as René Hüsler, Director of the Department of Computer Science at HSLU and founding member of ITSec4KMU puts it: ’ITSec4KMU approaches companies and shows them what can happen in the event of an attack by means of workshops and information events. SMEs can achieve a lot in terms of cyber security with a few simple initial steps - that’s where we need to start.

Focus on IT service providers

In the knowledge that many SMEs do not want to or cannot take care of cyber security themselves, ITSec4KMU places an additional focus on IT service providers. The register on the platform gives SMEs access to service providers in their area, allowing them to compare offers from different providers. IT service providers, in turn, can present their cyber security services to the target group. Expansion is also planned in this area, as Nicole Wettstein, Head of Tech Intelligence at SATW and Vice President of ITSec4KMU, explains: ’Many SMEs cannot or do not want to take care of IT and cyber security themselves. We support these companies by helping SMEs to find the most suitable service provider for them.

About ITSec4KMU

ITSec4KMU is an information platform for SMEs with useful tips on cybersecurity and IT security. This includes information and checklists to help SMEs prepare for potential cyberattacks. Promoting awareness of cybersecurity and easy access to information are key elements. In addition to news and information on events, the information platform also includes an overview of IT service providers that SMEs can contact with specific questions or in emergency situations. ITSec4KMU is purely an information platform and does not itself offer any services for SMEs. The canton of Zug is supporting ITSec4KMU with around CHF 1.4 million until 2026 as part of the Zug+ program.

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