Cyber Protect: Protecting Businesses in the Eastern Region from the Risk of Cybercrime

Dates: June 2020 – March 2021

Lead Researchers: Dr Christian Kemp, Adrian Winckles, Kelly Coulter, Anglia Ruskin University


This study examined how we may better support businesses in the Eastern Region to make long-term, sustainable improvements in cyber-security behaviours and practices. To achieve this, the research evaluated the work of the cyber-protect network in the region with a view towards locating ways in which the delivery of NCSC messaging to business communities may be improved and reinforced. Qualitative interviews with a wide sample of SMEs in the East were integral when highlighting the complex challenges that businesses have faced when seeking to introduce and maintain long term positive behavioural change. It is hoped the data may help to develop tools to help improve the impact that protect officers have when engaging with Eastern businesses. For example, the research team explored a cyber-protect ‘engagement tool’ that could simulate a live attack to illustrate key vulnerabilities and modes of attack to a business audience. They intend for new tools to be accompanied by relevant metrics to help measure long-term behaviour change.

The research also evaluated the relationship between cyber-insurance and low levels of cybercrime reporting amongst SME’s in the Eastern Region.

Policy implications

As a key part of the UK’s National Cyber Security Strategy, the Cyber Protect Network is responsible for the delivery of NCSC cyber-security guidance and messaging to UK businesses. The research will help to generate recommendations for improvements the Protect Network could implement to further develop its impact on long-term cyber resilience practices amongst businesses in the Eastern region. These recommendations aim to support the cyber-protect network to maximise engagement and outreach between protect officers and SME’s, update the format/structure of cyber awareness training and inputs, improve key impact metrics and address new challenges posed by Covid 19.


20 qualitative interviews with Cyber-protect officers and policing stakeholders. 30 interviews with representatives from a sample of SME’s based across the Eastern Region.

Find out more

Please email Dr Christian Kemp ( – website in development.

Funders: Home Office

External Collaborators: Essex Police, Essex Chambers of Commerce, Eastern Region Special Operations Unit, Eastern Region Cyber-Resilience Centre

Follow up work: Study has contributed to the development of the Eastern Region Cyber Resilience Centre and the Essex Strategic Cyber-Crime Board.


Posted on

December 9, 2021