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Saturday, May 30, 2015

Is It Time For SMEs To Take IT Seriously?

It could be said we all take the internet and our new technology for granted. Even those of us who have been around for a while have become used to Tweeting on the move or sending emails and working on our tablets and laptops, connected to each other by the wonder of Wi-Fi. Most of us will have some sort of virus software on our devices, and that's often all we need to do to keep ourselves relatively safe.

But for businesses, particularly smaller companies, their relationship with IT is a little more complicated. According to cyber-attack gurus Kaspersky, a large proportion of small companies do not think they are as vulnerable to cybercrime as large enterprises. They consider themselves either too small or feel they have little in the way of value worth stealing.

This is a mistake according to the Federation of Small Businesses who recently highlighted how over 40% of their members have been the subject of some kind of cyber-attack with almost a 1/3 being subject to online fraud. With the majority of SMEs nowadays heavily reliant on being connected via their laptops, tablets and smartphones it's a level of complacency that could be considered dangerous.

It's not just attacks that try to get at our finances that are the worry, most devices nowadays hold a good deal of personal and sensitive information. That could include the contact and even bank details of customers, your passwords and other security details, supplier details and your bankroll information and a host of other stuff that could be useful to a cybercriminal.

Only a quarter of SMEs currently use an outside IT consultancy to help them cope with the dangers of the online world, most preferring a do-it-yourself approach that can, at best, be described as naive. According to Kaspersky, this is all symptomatic of many a SME having a 'consumer' mind-set rather than looking at their online and IT security in a more business orientated way.

It's even more remarkable when you consider that 31% of those asked what they would do if there was a cyber-attack on their business didn't have a clue. Only 1 in 10 realised how much it could cost their business, not only financially but also in terms of their reputation if customers realise that they cannot keep their private information safe.

If you take into account that there are nearly 5 million micro-firms and sole traders in the UK alone, you get an idea of the size of the target. Companies who take the advice of an IT consultancy who can highlight the areas where improvements and safeguards can be introduced are far better placed to fend off any remote or targeted cyber-attack that may come their way.

IT security isn't just about having the right virus software and firewalls in place, though these are important. Professional IT support helps your business to protect itself - an ongoing process that explores all the possible catastrophes that could befall you in the online world. It allows you to develop the smart options that keep you safe and protects your privacy in a variety of ways, from creating a robust password policy to keeping your virus and anti-spam software completely up-to-date.

I am Erika Chitty. I work for M2Computing in Operations & Sales support. At M2Computing, We provide flexible and affordable Small Business IT Support, systems support, Cloud, virtual desktop and Blaze Back Up services across the South East, UK.

By Erika Chitty

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For IT related information and resources for small business check out Broadband Nation

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