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UK.gov aims to demystify security for SMEs

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UK online for business has launched a security section on its Web site, designed to help small business keep abreast of the latest Internet threats and how to combat them.

Security advice is often too technical, particularly for smaller companies with limited resources. UK online, a DTI-led partnership between Government and industry, which promotes the use of e-commerce in the UK, hopes its advice will be easier to understand. It wants to raise awareness of potential security risks alongside jargon-free instruction on how SMEs can guard against potential threats.

The pages draw together a range of tools, advice and guidance on core areas of online security for businesses to review and use. This is supported by case study examples of businesses that have been affected by security breaches.

Core areas of the site include:

  • Resources: Reviews five key security breach areas - viruses, theft, inappropriate usage, unauthorised access and systems failure - outlining how to assess the risk to a business. It also provides advice on prevention and recovery
  • Health Check: A 20-minute questionnaire that assesses a company's risk of suffering a security breach. Businesses are provided with a colour coding to show where potential weaknesses lie
  • Security Glossary A-Z: Provides a jargon-free description of over 90 security terms
  • Advice pages: Cover a range of topics, from e-regulation and funding through to skills, training and tax.
  • UNIRAS link: This provides a link to the Unified Incident Reporting and Alert Scheme where visitors can review the latest security breaches affecting UK business
  • Police and ICT Crime Contacts: A list of contact details for reporting security breaches

Security breaches to information and communication technology (ICT) systems affected 44 per cent of UK businesses at least once in the last year, according to last year's DTI sponsored Information Security Breaches Survey.

Patricia Hewitt, Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, said business need to minimise risks associated with security breaches, as the impact "on business of virus attacks, hackers and inappropriate usage of ICT systems by employees increases".

"Security has risen up the agenda over recent years, but is still often seen as a technical issue," said Hewitt.

"What companies, especially smaller ones, need is easy to understand advice on key issues as well as guidance on what to do when things go wrong. UK online for business brings together for the first time a comprehensive and valuable source of advice on information security," she added."

As well as its dedicated information security site, there's also a booklet Information Security and Why You Need, which is available as a PDF here. Alternatively a hard copy of the booklet can be obtained by phoning the UK online for business Info Line on 0845 715 2000. ®

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