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Cyber Security Awareness Week

In recent years cyber security has become ever more of a pressing issue. The after-effects of the devasting WannaCry attack that affected major organisations in 150 countries around the world, including the NHS, are still being felt, and the scale of cyber interference in worldwide democracy is starting to become apparent – if not fully realised yet. Gone are the days when ‘cyber security’ simply meant individual users not clicking links in scam emails; cyber attacks are becoming ever more insidious, sophisticated and large-scale. The National Cyber Security Centre has said it defends the UK from an average of ten cyber attacks per week.

Bearing all of this in mind, the need for companies to become aware of the risks, and to ensure that they are as they are as secure as possible, should be apparent. In this post, we’ll discuss about how BiP Solutions can help, and give a round-up of our cyber security-related updates from this week.

Cyber Essentials

Cyber Essentials is a Government-backed and industry-supported scheme that helps both businesses and public sector organisations protect themselves against cyber attacks and provides a clear statement of the basic controls organisations should have in place to protect themselves. The certification defines clear guidance on basic cyber security for organisations of all sizes, and offers a solid foundation of cyber security measures that all types of organisations can implement at a low cost.

Being Cyber Essentials certified is mandatory for any organisation bidding for central government and MOD contracts that deal with the handling of personal information and/or the provision of certain IT products and services. Therefore, if you’re looking to bid for these contracts, you must hold Cyber Essentials certification.

For Cyber Security Awareness Week we’re offering the chance to become certified for £250 plus VAT, through using the code ‘Cyberaware50’ at the checkout. See Cyber Essential’s top ‘next steps’ tips here, and for more details, see https://www.cyberessentialsonline.co.uk/.

Expert analysis & opinion

To learn more about how cyber security is currently affecting procurement, download our two most recent reports. Our 15-page ‘Challenges & Opportunities for Local Government Procurement in a Digital World’ includes a feature on key digital trends in procurement, including cyber security and its links to blockchain technology. Our survey report, ‘Procurement Approaches Across the Public Sector: Challenges & Opportunities 2018-19’, produced in collaboration with our colleagues from iGov Survey, brings together research and opinions from throughout the public sector. Key statistics include the fact that 63% of respondents said that they now have a designated cyber security lead.

Cyber security has a huge crossover with the Defence sector, not only in terms of active national security operations – an ever-growing area of focus – but also in areas that affect every business or organisation, such as ensuring transactions are secure. Each day this week our Defence Online site has been featuring special contributions from industry experts on how cyber security affects many different areas of the Defence sector. Read all the features here. And for more on how the Defence sector in particular needs to consider the ease with which cyber attacks can be conducted, see this post from our Defence Contracts International site, along with more cyber security top tips.

To learn more about BiP Solutions and our full range of solutions and how they can help ensure you’re working as securely as possible, visit our homepage.

Winning Public Contracts: Learn from John Lewis Christmas Ads

how to win public sector contracts

John Lewis wins the hearts of the nation every year when they release their Christmas advert. The brand is set to do it all again this year when they release their next festive treat in just a few days’ time.

You may not think it, but if you are looking to win the attention of public sector buyers, there are a few things you can take from the current portfolio of John Lewis Christmas ads.

Preparing Public Tenders

The creative process behind a John Lewis ad will most likely begin on 26 December. Planning matters and it seems that this year’s Christmas advert has been in the works since Christmas 2016! It is predicted that the retail giant will pay homage to George Michael with a version of his festive anthem, Last Christmas.

Preparation is just as important when it comes to winning public contracts. Your business must have key documentation in place before bidding starts. An example of this is DCI Cyber Essentials. The MOD has made this requirement mandatory since January 2016 for suppliers looking to do business in the defence sector.

The process to become Cyber Essentials certified is straightforward and only takes a few days to complete. This is an investment that must be made to prepare your business for public sector bidding.

Promote Your Business

John Lewis had a huge demand for Monty the penguin in 2014, when they featured their cuddly toy product in the Christmas advert. Monty the penguin was a sensation and attracted bids of nearly £150 on third party sites like eBay. The brand was not shy in shouting about this success and they even released another batch of the toy.

When you are tendering, make sure that you too are showing off what your business offers. You may think that filling in public sector contracts is just a box-ticking exercise; however, you would be wrong.  You will need to use your creativity to sell your services.

What is the best way you can do this? Include any relevant experience that you’ve had working with the public sector. Highlight what your business did well previously and demonstrate how you would approach things with that organisation.

Think about the social and environmental impact winning this contract will have – you might need to employ more staff to deliver the contract or demonstrate how your company’s products are environmentally sustainable. These are the types of areas that can really swing the contracting authority’s decision so make sure you check out the weightings.

Include Your Local Credentials

John Lewis was praised by the public for working with Age UK when creating their ‘Man On The Moon’ ad back in 2015, as they helped raise awareness of loneliness in elderly people. The range of products that were designed with Age UK in mind did incredibly well, with a portion of the profits going straight to the charity.

If your business gives back to the local community, keep in mind that councils are looking for suppliers with strong local ties. Include this connection in your application, this will show that you are assisting the Government in its efforts to increase its spending with small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) further by 2020.

Seek Expert Procurement Advice

Every year John Lewis works with advertising masterminds, Adam&EveDDB. The agency has worked with some of the biggest names in retail including H&M, Fosters and Marmite.

Just like the world of advertising, getting started with procurement, can seem daunting. If you are looking for advice on how to win public contracts, BiP Solutions can help you identify opportunities and put a bid together.

We’re proud to work with some of the world’s most recognisable companies, international government bodies and customers large and small from all levels of the public and private sectors worldwide.

To find out more about BiP’s products and services, please visit our website.