IHF asbl joined the online Kick-Off meeting of Cyber-MSME – Cybersecurity for Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises, a project co-financed by the Erasmus+ Programme

On December 10, 2020, IHF asbl joined the online Kick-Off Meeting of Cyber-MSME (Cybersecurity for Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises), a Project co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Commission, which brings together six Partners from five countries (Belgium, Italy, Poland, Romania, and Spain). The Kick-Off Meeting, hosted by CTS Customized Training Solutions SP. Z O.O. (CTS), was originally planned in Brussels, but has been rescheduled online due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Cybercrime is the fastest-growing form of criminal activity and appears to be targeting a specific segment of our economies. According to the latest figures, the economic impact of cybercrime rose fivefold between 2013 and 2017, and microenterprises and SMEs (MSMEs) – the backbone of the EU economy – are disproportionately impacted by the phenomenon.

Despite MSMEs being the most vulnerable group to the growing threat posed by cyberattacks, MSMEs are very seldom aware of the risks they face, let alone be prepared for them. In 2019, an industry report estimated that 66% of senior decision-makers in small businesses believe they are unlikely to be a target of online criminals (Keeper), whereas UNIPOL calculated that only 14% of MSMEs are prepared to tackle cyber threats (2018).

The European Commission acknowledged the pressing need to equip micro and small businesses with competences and tools to tackle cyber threats in order to make them more resilient in case of cyber-attacks. Not only are “skills shortages” already “hindering SMEs”, but also these are expected to grow in the future, to the point that “Europe will face a projected skills gap of 350.000 cybersecurity professionals by 2022”.

The Cyber-MSME project stands as a concrete response to this need.

Cyber-MSME will capitalise on the valuable experience of its Partnership to provide MSMEs with innovative and tailored training solutions and tools for MSMEs. In particular, partners will carry out the following activities:

  1. Develop the Cyber-MSME OER Platform, a repository of knowledge accessible to all, free of charge, in full Open Access mode and in multilingual versions (EN, IT, PO, RO, ES)
  2. Develop a shared methodology for the mapping of current trends, threats and opportunities and then consolidate the findings in a final report based on which the training and tools will be designed
  3. Define the professional profile of a Cyber-Security Expert within MSMEs so as to facilitate job matching between demand and supply: enterprises increasingly look for cybersecurity experts, and this makes for a great employment opportunity for young people
  4. Develop training courses and operational tools tailored to the needs of MSMEs
  5. Deliver the training to 150 target groups and collect feedback to fine tune the material created
  6. Develop guidelines to facilitate the uptake of Cyber-MSMEs so as to sustain project results beyond Erasmus co-financing and widen its range of impact

In the Project, IHF asbl brings its expertise and experience as a key social player in international and European projects. In particular, IHF asbl ensures the “European Dimension” of the Project as it carries out all the technical tasks from a “European Perspective”, i.e. carrying out analysis of relevant EU policies and initiatives; extrapolating EU relevant case studies, lessons learned and best practices.

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