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December 1, 2014

Security main concern as Gov’t invests in digital skills

Do More Online campaign launched, but can SMEs operate online safely and securely?

By Ellie Burns

The Do More Online campaign has today been launched by the UK Government. The campaign is targeted at small businesses with the aim of boosting their digital skills.

Through Local Enterprise Partnerships, the campaign will give £2 million to 22 projects to help increase the digital presence of small businesses.

Projects include the development of a digital TV channel in Manchester, which provides easily-accessible and cost-effective advice to businesses, supported by events, advice and networking sessions.

Business and Enterprise Minister Matthew Hancock said: "Thousands of potential customers are searching online for local small businesses and without an online profile businesses will lose out."

"To make sure consumers get the best deal and small businesses spread their nets far and wide, the government is investing in a range of advice to help them do more online. I am committed to making the UK the best place in the world to start up and grow, and this is integral to achieving that."

Hugh Boyes, from the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), commented: "Whilst it is great that the Government is encouraging small businesses to do more online, the cyber security of most small business is woefully inadequate as they do not have the time, experience or resources to develop the knowledge and skills to protect their presence online."

"A recent Trustwave report on Application Security (i.e. online applications) revealed that 96 per cent had major security defects. For SMEs to safely and securely operate online they will need support and assistance to ensure that their web presence is secure."

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"They are very unlikely to achieve this with the budget web offerings currently available from most ISPs. We recognise that the Government has launched the Cyber Essentials scheme, but this focusses on the personal IT equipment used by SMEs and small traders."

"It does not address the security of ISP-hosted or cloud websites, where website configuration and security are increasingly complex and either poorly addressed or not addressed at all in the budget packages typically used by SMEs."

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