Growing concerns over cyber security among UK businesses could lead to more opportunities for IT limited company contractors.
Cyber security threats have fast become a growing concern for UK businesses, particularly in the wake of last year's high-profile WannaCry attack, which affected NHS computer systems.
Following this incident, 40 per cent of firms admit to feeling more worried about cyber attacks than ever before, according to research carried out by Tanium, which involved the questioning of 500 IT security workers.
So, what do growing cyber security concerns mean for Britain's limited company contractors and freelancers? On the one hand, they need to make sure their own computers and digital assets are sufficiently protected. On the other, increased fears over cyber attacks could potentially lead to more opportunities for contractors with specific IT expertise.
Cyber security tips for contractors
Tanium's research found that under one-third (31 per cent) of UK businesses have actually taken action to strengthen their cyber security since the WannaCry attack. Some 62 per cent of survey respondents said they were reviewing their current set-up and looking into new options, but, in the meantime, they could potentially be leaving themselves open to attack.
This is a concern, as businesses of all sizes, including one-man limited companies, can fall victim to a cyber security breach at any time, so you need to be taking steps to look after your digital files, even if you just work by yourself and don't think you could be at risk.
To start with, make sure that you never share any sensitive or personal information online, and invest in security software for your computer to help protect it as best as possible.
One in five respondents to the Tanium poll said they hadn't taken steps to improve their cyber practices as other tasks had taken priority. However, for limited company contractors, it's essential that cyber security is treated as a priority of equal importance, as if important digital contact lists or other files are compromised, your entire livelihood could be at risk.
With this in mind, always back up all of your files either to the cloud or a USB stick to provide you with a little extra security and greater peace of mind.
What cyber security concerns mean for IT contractors
For limited company contractors who work in the IT sector, the above advice still applies, but these growing concerns over cyber security could also spell new opportunities for them.
Matt Ellard, Vice-President for the EMEA region at Tanium, explained: "Legacy systems and architecture, fear of patching, fragmentation of point solutions, limited budgets and silos that exist within the IT operations and security teams are still leaving UK firms vulnerable to attack.
"Businesses can no longer afford to overlook the scale of threats they face, and the IT operations and security teams need to bridge the accountability gap to protect the network, company and customer data."
One way to do this would be to bring in cyber security contractors, who would be able to provide access to their expertise to organisations on a short-term basis, without interfering with other, possibly conflicting priorities within a business.
Limited company contractors in the IT space should therefore make sure they are focusing on improving their cyber security skills and keeping up to date with the latest developments in the sector.
This should help to ensure they are in with a better chance of securing the cyber security contract opportunities that they go after, allowing them to stand out against their competitors and add more value to the clients they work with.