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Nowadays, with a ‘smartphone as super computer’ in our pockets, we have all, to some extent, become IT ‘experts’ or at least have a much closer relationship to being responsible for updating settings, downloading new versions and generally keeping our devices at peak performance – or so the theory goes. And as technological change continues apace, that also extends to some degree to our computers and devices in the office. Many small businesses don’t have the scope for the luxury of a dedicated IT department and so use third party companies and take it upon ourselves to become better educated – with renewed urgency.
With more and more high profile examples of security breaches (not least Sony) hitting the headlines, getting smart about cyber security is becoming a key priority. Further, during their June conference, Astra powerfully recognized and articulated the importance of this issue for small businesses, noting that the significant and far-reaching TARGET data breach was due in part to an SMB supplier who didn’t have the right web security (this also points once again to why a robust supply chain is a hot topic of the moment).
And this week, a new study from Google, and reported in some detail here, unveiled some fascinating insights into the differences between the layman’s approach to managing online security versus that of the experts. For example, 42% of the ‘non-experts’ surveyed said that they thought that anti-virus tools such as MacAfee and Norton were crucial, but just 7% of the experts agreed. In terms of passwords, everyone agreed on their importance, but very few non-experts used any kind of password management tool in the process. As was reported by Gizmodo at the start of this year, when the top passwords people use are ‘123456’ and ‘password’ maybe it’s time to get a little more sophisticated.
Thankfully, there’s lots of help at hand. The FCC has compiled a 10 point checklist specifically for small businesses here. Kabbage, the small business loan company has some great supplementary insights here. As with every company initiative it’s obviously key to have a well-structured communications plan in place that educates each staff member in the company policy and the enormous importance of adhering to it; there is so much more than our own business’s assets at stake.
As ever, if you’d like to share your best practice advice for this topic, please get in touch.
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