Govt launches toolkit to help SMEs protect online business

The government has today launched the ‘Connect Smart for Business: SME Toolkit’, a free resource aimed at helping small and medium sized enterprises take basic steps to protect their business and customers online across all devices.

The toolkit features a Cyber Security Warrant of Fitness – a checklist of the basic measures businesses need to have in place to protect their business, staff and customers online.

Sponsored by Vodafone, the toolkit has been developed as part of Connect Smart Week, a new government-led initiative that was launched on Monday by the Minister for Communications and Information Technology, Hon Amy Adams.

Connect Smart Week is aimed at raising awareness of cyber security issues and promoting ways for people and businesses to protect themselves online.

Paul Ash, Director of the National Cyber Policy Office, says the scale and nature of many SMEs means that some do not have the internal capacity to engage specialists to review their security policies and infrastructure, and as a result, many businesses are leaving themselves exposed.

“This toolkit is designed to make it easy for businesses of all sizes to understand and put in place the basic steps required to protect important or sensitive information online,” he says.

“We want business owners to understand that improving their cyber security is simple – it’s not complicated or expensive to take proactive steps now to protect themselves and their customers.

“Having business information compromised is more than an inconvenience and can have major consequences for businesses and their customers, as well as impact on their commercial reputation.”

Colin James, Head of Information Security at Vodafone and a member of the expert panel consulted in the development of the toolkit, says that according to recent research by Vodafone, small businesses account for 30 per cent of targeted online attacks.

“Alongside the greater flexibility and efficiency that operating in a mobile and online environment affords come additional risks – particularly as the distinction between how people use their personal and work devices starts to blur,” he adds.

“It is more important than ever for businesses to take proactive steps to protect their security, and ensure that staff are encouraged to do the same.

“When business information is secure, it gives staff and customers confidence to harness the full benefits of mobility.”

The toolkit can be downloaded for free from the new Connect Smart website, connectsmart.govt.nz – this website is the Government’s “front door” to cyber security advice, pointing home users, small businesses and schools towards information and resources that will help people protect themselves, their businesses and students online.

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