Lawrence Jones, the founder of UKFast in Manchester has launched a £1m fund to help businesses protect themselves against online threats.

Jones’ BASE (Building a Safer Environment) fund is offering firms grants of £5k because of the “suddenly-inflated prices from IT companies hoping to cash-in on their fears of online attacks.”

“It is common place to have online shops hosted on networks and environments that aren’t behind a firewall. Many trusted sites that you’d assume would take this seriously are opting out, knowing that customers never check,” he explained.

“The problem is less about people’s desires to create a safe environment and more to do with astronomical pricing for firewalls and online security. If making your website safe is cost prohibitive, it’s often the things you cannot see that are compromised, quite literally.”

The BASE fund will offer anti-virus and back-up systems as well as safety protocols and 24-hour monitoring. Firms have to be hosted on the UKFast network.

“We’re hearing from businesses who are seeing their security costs multiply because their hosting provider is taking advantage of growing fears around safety online. People are hearing more and more about DDoS attacks and some companies are using that to hike their prices up,” he continued.

“Businesses are being forced to upgrade their firewalls and pay excessive costs for a basic safeguard. It’s wrong! Britain’s businesses shouldn’t be held to ransom on this and forced to operate without the fundamental protections because of cost.”