A leading Cumbrian accountancy firm has launched a survey to help identify the threat of cyber crime in the county.

Armstrong Watson, which has offices across the county, recently set up the client technology advisory service, which offers guidance to businesses to support strategic technology planning and implementation.

It said that as information and cyber crime figures were bigger than all other types of organised crime put together, and businesses of every size having the potential to fall victim, it has created its first cyber security survey to help identify the threat.

Businesses are encouraged to complete the short two-minute survey to provide a picture of how this increasing risk is impacting SMEs and what preventative action businesses are putting in place.

Client technology director, Barry Maxey said: “Sadly we’ve witnessed an increasing number of our clients turn to us for support following a security breach or attack and, whilst we’ve been able to step in to provide advice, we’re keen to offer guidance and direction before the worst happens.

"We hope that by asking business owners to spare a few moments to consider their current position, we’ll gain a better understanding of how prepared businesses are and highlight where security gaps may currently exist – hopefully helping to prevent further threat.”

Once the results has been analysed, Armstrong Watson plans to publish a report, which will specify any differences or similarities by business sector and region, along with an indication as to where action needs to be taken to prepare and protect SMEs.

The first Armstrong Watson Business Owners Forum, on March 26 at Carlisle Racecourse, will concentrate on cyber, and feature Peter Loomes, of IASME, the accreditation body for the Government’s National Cyber Security Centre.

To find out more, visit www.armstrongwatson.co.uk/events/business-owners-forum

To fill out the survey, visit www.armstrongwatson.co.uk/cybersurvey