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More help available for charities as cyber threats persist

29 Feb 2024

As part of CyberScotland Week (26 February – 3 March 2024), SCVO’s Cyber Resilience Co-ordinator, Alison Brogan, has shared some information to help charities understand the help and resources available.

In this article she highlights the importance of being cyber resilient and explains how your organisation can get support to be better protected against cyber threats. 

The coronavirus pandemic increased the speed at which digital has become embedded in our lives: digital was our lifeline, we used it to build a new way of life.

In 2023, almost a quarter of charities (24%) experienced some kind of cyber security breach or attack – and the same applied to over half (56%) of larger charities. The 2023 UK Cyber Security Breaches Survey shows that a considerable proportion of organisations from every sector are experiencing cyber attacks or breaches, and charities are no exception. Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (Western Isles Council) was targeted by hackers in November 2023, while the British Library is still recovering from a major attack in October, with some of its services expected to remain out of action for multiple months.

Since the pandemic, organisations are increasingly relying on digital tools and services. Many have retained hybrid working, allowing their team to work effectively from a range of locations, and these working practices require reliable and secure systems. However, as charities move online, they are becoming more vulnerable and sadly it is not a case of if they will experience a cyber incident but rather when.

So, if cyber attacks are increasingly likely, what can voluntary sector organisations do in response? Cyber resilience is just another part of overall business resilience which is about making sure that your charity has a plan in place to keep operating, even when things go wrong.

The good news is that taking the first steps to improving cyber resilience is easier than you might think. There is lots of free support out there to help you start to prioritise cyber risk in 2024 and be ready for the inevitable.

If you’re not sure where to get started, SCVO has resources and networks that can help, we’ve recently refreshed our cyber resilience guidance and will continue to update as our work in this space develops.

We’ve just brought together a newly established Third Sector Cyber Resilience Working Group, made up of a range of people from across the voluntary sector. Their role is to shape and guide initiatives under the Scottish Government’s Third Sector Cyber Resilience Action Plan, focussing on the most impactful and relevant priorities to support charities in becoming more cyber resilient.

This working group is part of the CyberScotland Partnership, which brings together partners from all sectors across Scotland who collaborate to boost cyber resilience. They also have advice and guidance as well as various upcoming events.

Finally, the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) provides a comprehensive source of free advice and support available for charity boards, trustees and employees.

We hope these resources will help in your journey to becoming more cyber resilient. If you have any specific queries and/or interest in supporting upcoming initiatives, please contact me at

This article first appeared in the January 2024 issue of TFN Magazine (p12).