Insights from Phase 1: Cybersecurity Awareness Campaign for MSMEs in Bangladesh

With a significant count of 7.5 million MSMEs, amounting to approximately 25% of the national GDP, their insufficient grasp of cybersecurity knowledge leads to dire repercussions for businesses including financial losses, negative brand image, and operational disruptions.

To address these pressing concerns, Inspira Advisory & Consulting Limited launched a campaign funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and initiated by the South Asia Regional Development Initiative (SARDI), implemented by Development Alternatives Inc. (DAI). The campaign aimed to raise awareness among MSMEs, introduce internet hygiene, and bolster their knowledge and skills in cybersecurity.

In Phase 1, spanning a year, the campaign was conducted across seven districts: Dhaka, Narayanganj, Gazipur, Chattogram, Cox’s Bazar, Bogura, and Jashore. Selection criteria included a high concentration of targeted MSMEs, prominent sector actors, and intense economic activity frequency.

Phase 1 Milestones : Partnerships
  • Partnership with WE: As a pioneering organization in Bangladesh, Women and e-Commerce Forum (WE) empowers women entrepreneurs to thrive in the digital world, making them a highly valuable partner. This partnership with WE highlights the importance of cyber security for businesses, and aims to conduct a series of activities, campaigns, and training programs to enhance cyber security knowledge and safeguard entrepreneurs from cyber risks. 
  • Partnership with e-CAB: e-Commerce Association of Bangladesh (e-CAB) has been spreading e-Commerce all over the country to build a nationwide network as well as encouraging the country’s e-Commerce entrepreneurs and online consumers to transform their Business to e-Business. Our collaborative efforts are focused on promoting cybersecurity awareness among MSMEs & digital hygiene practices that entrepreneurs must adhere to safeguard their online assets and navigate the digital landscape with confidence. 
Partnership with e-CAB: e-Commerce Association of Bangladesh (e-CAB) has been spreading e-Commerce all over the country to build a nationwide network as well as encouraging the country’s e-Commerce entrepreneurs and online consumers to transform their Business to e-Business. Our collaborative efforts are focused on promoting cybersecurity awareness among MSMEs & digital hygiene practices that entrepreneurs must adhere to safeguard their online assets and navigate the digital landscape with confidence.
  • Partnership with SME Foundation: Small and Medium Enterprise Foundation(SMEF) provides training and financing to small entrepreneurs.Its a vast network of enterprises. There are 7818565 different enterprises included in the SME Foundation. Collaborating with them enabled us to connect with a wider range of people.
  • Partnership with BdOSN: Inspira signed an MoU agreement with Bangladesh Open Source Network (BdOSN) to secure the business activities of small and medium entrepreneurs in Bangladesh by promoting information and awareness about cyber security. These partnerships have fostered collaboration and capacity building efforts, enabling the campaign to reach a broader audience and extend its impact beyond the initial scope of seven districts.This extended reach amplifies the dissemination of cyber security awareness and best practices.The ongoing partnerships emphasize long-term capacity building and a secure digital environment. Together, these efforts have created a safer space for businesses across Bangladesh.
Workshops

The team of Inspira reached out to seven targeted districts to raise awareness on cyber security through workshops. The workshops were conducted in various regions of the country with the assistance of our collaborators.

Field Workshop: In partnership with SME Foundation, WE, CWCCI (Chittagong Women Chamber of Commerce & Industry), and other esteemed collaborators, we conducted a series of impactful workshops across diverse districts, engaging with over 650 SMEs. Notably user-friendly, these workshops garnered significant attention for their approachable handling of complex topics. Further expanding our reach, we organized workshops in Bogra, Narayanganj, Chittagong, and Cox’s Bazar, eliciting an overwhelmingly positive response with the invaluable support of our partners.”

Glimpse of the activities on Cybersecurity Awareness Workshop

Online workshop: A number of our cybersecurity training sessions were conducted virtually. These workshops provided MSMEs with the chance to interact with cybersecurity experts, gaining insights into cybersecurity laws, policies, and methods to enhance their online security. The workshops effectively bridged knowledge gaps, offering guidance on subjects including multi-factor authentication, account recovery, and cyber laws for safeguarding against cyberattacks.

One-stop- Support Desk: Inspira has successfully established a one-stop-service desk (OSD) via a dedicated Facebook page “ব্যবসায় ডিজিটাল সুরক্ষা”  to provide comprehensive support and guidance to Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) regarding cyber security. This initiative has played a vital role in tackling cyber security concerns for MSMEs and providing them with essential resources for safeguarding their businesses. The OSD functions as a centralized hub where MSMEs can submit queries, request help, and get quick responses from a team of cyber security professionals. A well-structured Standard Operating Procedure (SoP) ensures seamless navigation and effective query management, improving user satisfaction.The OSD has received a notable volume of assistance requests, covering diverse cyber threats. 

OSD

Unique Content Generation

We generated  100+ unique contents including webinars, workshops, online quiz assessments. The campaign primarily segmented into three phases of content placement , each with a distinct purpose in educating the target audience about cybersecurity awareness. The first phase focuses on educating the audience about the prevalent cybersecurity threats faced by MSMEs. The second phase emphasizes preventive measures to alleviate concerns, and the final phase strives to instill cybersecurity habits and internet hygiene in the collective consciousness. Additionally, we collaborated with content creators to extend our outreach to a wider audience.

Phase 2 Way Forward: Going beyond dissemination of knowledge, in phase 2 there will be an emphasis in addressing specific issues and helping MSMEs find resolutions to their cybersecurity problems. Phase 2 encompasses three pivotal work streams.

We will be conducting comprehensive MSME workshops, embracing a three-tiered training approach encompassing fundamental and advanced topics. These workshops will span ten pivotal districts, recognized as key MSME economic hubs. Our Training of Trainers initiative will strategically amplify project impact through immersive multi-day sessions, catering to emerging cybersecurity professionals. Ensuring enduring training content, an online course will extend beyond the project duration and geographic scope. Our Cybersecurity Resources will encompass a One-Stop Cybersecurity Support Desk (OSD), effectively addressing cyber challenges. Supported by experts, the OSD will offer direct conversations via website, campaign social media, helpline, and online consultation. Our Policy Advocacy will comprise webinar-based Policy Dialogues involving stakeholders and experts, addressing cybersecurity policy needs. Through our MSME Web Forum on the campaign’s Facebook group, owners will discuss concerns and potential policy changes. Thought Leadership will offer collaborative resources addressing cybersecurity awareness and policy gaps, developed with experts and disseminated through prominent collaborations.

Recent Activity

বাংলাদেশের ব্যবসা প্রতিষ্ঠানের_20230823_183359_0000

On 24th August 2023 we conducted a webinar on “The future of cyber security of business organizations in Bangladesh” featuring distinguished panelists, including the Additional Deputy Police Commissioner of CTTC, Dhaka Metropolitan Police, Barrister Nazmus Saleheen, an advocate from the Bangladesh Supreme Court, and cybersecurity experts. The discussion centered around the future of cybersecurity in Bangladesh, the significance of related laws and policies, and their role in safeguarding online businesses against cyber vulnerabilities.”

As the project transitions into its Phase 2, which focuses on advanced training, expert support, policy advocacy, and thought leadership, the initiative continues to serve as a beacon of progress, bolstering the cybersecurity resilience of Bangladesh’s vital business ecosystem.

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