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Small businesses at risk online

By Tony Neate on 23 Jun, 2007

Tony Neate, Managing Director, Get Safe Online This week, Get Safe Online.org announced the key findings of a new piece of research relating to the security readiness of micro businesses (small businesses with fewer than 10 employees). With 95% of small businesses having no dedicated IT manager, nor access to an external security consultancy company, how do these businesses remain fully up-to-date with all the latest online security issues?


Small businesses, from local tradesmen through to small retailers, are becoming increasingly reliant on their computers and the internet, but what happens when the local window cleaner’s schedule of work, including names and addresses of all his clients, are hacked from his home computer? Or all his financial information is erased due to a virus or trojan – details regarding his PAYE, VAT and all his expenses gone! With no thought having ever been given to backing up his system.


More concerning is the thought of a local retailer that stores all its customer financial details on their business computer, holding details of the clients’ direct debit details, names, addresses, bank sort codes and account numbers, and to go with them, personal telephone numbers to add authenticity, losing all the information to a targeted hack as a result of being linked to the internet without adequate protection.


But do these small businesses even know these risks exist?  How do we let them know, without seeming to burden them with even more work on top of the demands all businesses have to deal with? What happens when details of customers do become public as a direct result of a cyber attack and the local community loses confidence in providing any form of information to a business weather online or off?


Get Safe Online.org recently sat around the table with a number of small business organisations to discuss these issues and problems, share ideas and common goals, and work on plans to reach out to this very important section of UK business to build awareness and provide advice.


Doing nothing because it’s too hard to deal with is not an option.


- Tony Neate, Managing Director, Get Safe Online