23rd Feb


TFA Blog #33: Building a Cyber Security Plan of Action for Your Business

This blog has been guest written by Sarah Lyons, Deputy Director for Economy & Society, the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) – a part of GCHQ


Over the past year, businesses in the UK have adjusted to new ways of working and are using the internet more than ever before. According to a report from the Centre for Economic Performance, more than 60% of businesses are using new technologies since the beginning of the pandemic. This is happening in almost all industries – including farming.

The increased use of email, online payments and automated farming equipment has brought great benefits to the agriculture sector, but it does come with risks, and we’ve heard heart-breaking stories of farmers falling victim to cyber criminals. To help them protect themselves, last year we collaborated with the National Farmers’ Union on our very first piece of guidance that was aimed specifically at the Agriculture and Farming sector.

Knowing which measures to take to improve our cyber security isn’t always straight-forward though. There is a lot of information out there and sifting through this to find relevant guidance can take a lot of time and effort.

At the NCSC, we have launched a new tool that will help businesses access cyber security guidance that’s relevant to them. After responding to questions on their current IT practices in the new Cyber Action Plan, they will receive tailored advice on how to improve their cyber security, based on the responses given.

The Cyber Action Plan recommendations stem from the six practical, actionable steps from the technical experts at the NCSC that protect us from the majority of online crime:

  1. Use a strong and separate password for your email
  2. Create strong passwords using 3 random words
  3. Save your passwords in your browser
  4. Turn on two-factor authentication (2 FA)
  5. Update your devices and apps
  6. Back up your data

The behaviours underpin the cross government Cyber Aware campaign, and you may hear our radio advertisements in March urging businesses to use the Cyber Action Plan.

For farmers, and business owners more widely, cyber security should be a priority and I’d strongly recommend visiting We would encourage them to familiarise themselves with the site’s guidance and test themselves against the Cyber Action Plan. It will only take a few minutes to enter the information and it’s free, but it might just provide the priceless knowledge needed to better protect them and their businesses from cyber criminals.

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