Small businesses’ BYOD practices leave them one cyber attack away from bankruptcy

Inadequate bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies are leaving small to medium-sized businesses open to attack by cyber criminals, according to security firm AVG.

AVG’s SMB general manager Mike Foreman said despite progress in educating SMBs about basic network security, they are still woefully under-informed about the threats they face when using consumer devices, such as smartphones and tablets, for work purposes.

“Small businesses have probably just got their head around security within the network, but we’ve just rapidly changed their world, introducing mobile and tablets for SMB usage. SMBs are going to have to get their heads around that,” he said

The AVG manager said the issue is doubly troubling as if they are successfully hacked, the cost of a data breach will cripple most SMBs. “The real big area for a small business is data privacy. This impacts all of us but for a small business to have data breaches, well it could be the end of their business. It is happening, we’ve seen it,” he said.

AVG chief technology officer (CTO) Yuval Ben-Itzhak mirrored Foreman’s sentiment, adding that attacks on mobile devices are troubling as they are another vector criminals can use to steal financial data.

“The main thing criminals are trying to do is get banking Trojans into the system so they can get login details for online banking. You don’t see with SMBs any kind of espionage, they’re too small it’s all financially based. It’s usually the stuff you can buy and customise, things like Zeus and SpyEye, all those families of malware,” said Ben-Itzhak.

Click here to read the full story…

Make the Most of the Technology Strategy Board 2013-14

The Technology Strategy Board (TSB) has recently published its goals and budget for the forthcoming year and experts at Birmingham Science City have kindly read the full report and summarised the points that will be most useful for the SME sector.

The full budget put forward by the TSB for the year is £440 million, and they are looking at SMEs as the main beneficiaries of this as they expect SMEs to be the biggest drivers of innovation.

There are a number of initiatives that the TSB will be driving, including Innovation Vouchers, Smart Awards, Knowledge Transfer Partnerships and Small Business Research Initiative Grants.

The TSB hope that these initiatives will allow SMEs to continue to drive the commercialisation of innovation which they see as vital to restoring the UK’s economy.

For the full article please click here.

Bank of England Publishes Latest Inflation Report

Mervyn King- Governor of The Bank of England

Mervyn King

 

The Bank of England has published its latest Inflation Report.

The report is the last of Mervyn King’s tenure as Governor of the Bank of England and contains positive news with a cautionary note about the recovery of the UKs economy.

The report suggests that the key inflation figure is likely to remain above the 2% target for the next two years, driven by external price increases and internal regulatory prices.

The economy is expected to grow slowly over the next few years, but the recovery is sufficient that the base inflation rate of 0.5% is unlikely to increase until at least the end of 2016. The growth in the economy is likely to be assisted in relaxations on access to finance, driven in apart by government initiatives such at the Funding for Lending Scheme (FLS).

Increased access to funding will make it easier for Small and Medium sized businesses to get the finance that they need to grow, and it is expected that much of the growth in GDP will be driven by the SME sector.

Click here for the full report.

IMF Turn Back on British Austerity


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BIS call for interest: IASME

  • Government Consultation on Information Security Standard
  • UKITA supports IASME standard as most appropriate to SME Sector
  • Make your voice heard

With March seeing the beginning of a consultancy period for the Governments Cyber Security Organisational Standards, and given the recent events at Evernote we understand that is will be an area of concern for our members and their customers- see our article here.

Here at the UK IT Association (UKITA) we want to support SME’s, particularly those in the IT sector, to get the most appropriate level of Cyber Security Standard certification. While we acknowledge that ISO 27001 is a great standard for a company to achieve in Information Security Management, we feel that it is unrealistic to expect the majority of SMEs to be able to afford and achieve this standard.

For that reason we are supporting the IASME standard as the most appropriate. It is specifically designed with SMEs in mind and offers a set of strategies which effectively reduce the risk of loss through cyber accidents or attacks. In addition the work you do towards the IASME standard can count as credit towards the ISO 27001 standard.

Here is what IASME have to say:

“BIS are calling for organisations and groups to submit evidence in support of their preferred organisational security standard. They will use this evidence to select the Government’s preferred organisational standard for cyber security. In the first instance, they are inviting industry stakeholders to express their interest in submitting evidence in support of their preferred standard by 8 April. Shortly afterwards they will publish guidance to help them prepare their evidence for submission.

Government will also be exploring what can be done to help stimulate the uptake of organisational standards for cyber security, for example Government is considering the relevance of this work to Government procurement. More details on the requirements and the background can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/cyber-security-organisational-standards-call-for-evidence.

IASME (Information Assurance for Small and Medium Business) is a cyber security standard developed especially for SMEs. Originally funded by the Technology Strategy Board, it offers a set of business practices which will reduce the risk of loss of business through cyber accident or attack. The business practices are derived from internationally recognised cyber standards, distilled into common-sense language applicable to even the smallest business.

IASME are also developing UK-wide information events for SMEs and a research-based advice centre for SMEs with a couple of top-flight universities similar to the WARP concept. IASME already has a link with an AIG-underwritten cyber insurance product brokered by Sutcliffe of Worcester – details on our site.

The likely alternative is certification to the full ISO 27001 Information Security Management Standard which has proved difficult and expensive to achieve for SMEs. We feel that IASME offers a more cost-effective solution for UKITA members and ask that UKITA contributes to the BIS consultation.”

If you wish to be part of the consultancy send your expression of interest to submit evidence in support of your preferred standard by Monday 8 April 2013. Give the name of your industry body or group of companies and the name of the standard against which you intend to submit evidence.

The BIS will then publish guidance for submitting bodies by Tuesday 30 April 2013.

The final date for submitting evidence will be Monday 14 October 2013.

And remember- the IASME standard will meet the needs of the majority of SME’s- ISO 27001 may well price some people out of business if it is made a requirement.

To keep up with the latest industry news visit the UK IT Association (UKITA).

Private Cloud To Save Tesco Money?

In a move which does much to validate and endorse the coming of age of cloud infrastructure for line-of-business continuity, UK retailers Tesco are planning to move the majority of their internal IT structure over to a private cloud as part of a cost cutting and efficiency drive.

The change is driven by the IT Team at Tesco’s desire to deliver flexibility across the scale and limits of the facilities that Tesco possess. Tomas Kadlec, IT Director for Infrastructure and Operations at Tesco, believes that using the data-centres that they already have will allow Tesco to remain competitive and innovative while keeping costs down.

“Our data centres are robust and we will adopt private cloud only to benefit from cloud’s self-provisioning capabilities,” Kadlec said. “A customised internal cloud set up is far more effective, secure and cheaper than the public cloud infrastructure.”

Kadlec is adamant that “self-provisioning is the most appealing part of the cloud”, but he believes that the transfer will save Tesco money in the long run too. “If it was not going to be cheaper, then it means that we were doing something wrong technologically,” he said.

One of the key reasons that Kadlec is said to be keen on the transfer is to ensure that IT functionality becomes a background noise to innovation at Tesco rather than a driving factor across Tesco’s range of services. “This year we would like to build our private cloud so that we move from the world where our IT infrastructure drives the business projects and determines the timeline to a world where infrastructure just sits in the backdrop supporting all business plans,” he said.

Tesco are planning on a range of new innovations in the near future to keep them ahead of their rivals in the retail world. The biggest immediate project that they hope will benefit from the move to a private cloud is the planned introduction of drive-thru stores. Tesco are planning to offer an addition to their current online delivery service which allows users to make orders and arrange delivery online to a drive-thru service. Rather than having to wait in for your order customers will be able to order on-line and tell the store when they will be collecting their order, they will then be able to drive to the designated collection points and collect their orders without getting out of their cars.

Kadlec is also hoping that the additional security and customisation available with a private cloud will encourage a more flexible approach to work across the company.

Tesco will continue to use public cloud services for desktop and client based services such as e-mail.

Big Data and Social Entrepreneurship

Nesta with the support of UnLtd and Nominet Trust, are making a grant pot of £10k

available to fund two or more proof-of-concept projects.  We want to test how new data

sources and novel analytical techniques can be used to cast light on the development of

social enterprises and the bodies that support them in the UK.

We are now inviting short proposals for such projects. We are expecting to grant fund

two or more proposals of up to £5,000. Proposals should be sent to us by 5pm 8 March

2012.

 

Background

 

‘Big Data’ is a potentially transformative technology trend that some have described as “the next

frontier for innovation, competition, and productivity.”

 

Commercial organisations from supermarkets to law firms are already making great use of big data. But little work has been done to explore its value for the social enterprise and charitable sector.

Big Data can be defined as data that requires ‘massive’ computing power to process.

 

It is enabled by a range of continuing technology trends, including: automated data collection tools

such as web scraping, increasingly sophisticated data analysis techniques, the widespread use

of social media, decreasing costs of digital storage, and the increasing prevalence of ambient

sensors in the environment and networked objects.

 

The collection, mining and analysis of ‘big data’ sets already offers significant value for

commercial businesses. For example, Nesta’s ‘Rise of the Datavores’ identified the benefits of

engaging in data driven decision making, while the Cambridge Cluster Map shows how data can

be combined to gather and display insight on high-tech businesses.

 

There is increasing interest in how Big Data analysis could benefit social enterprises and

charities. The Executive Office of the United Nations Secretary-General has launched the

Global Pulse programme to explore how the immediacy of findings drawn from Big Data

analysis can better inform the timeliness of development interventions on a large scale.  But

aside from this, there are few practical explorations of the role of Big Data analysis in the social

enterprise and charitable sector.

 

Big Data analysis may offer ways to address important challenges facing the social enterprise

sector, such as the speed at which the sector is developing and the lack of centralised

information about social ventures or the organisations which support them: analysis of Big Data

drawn from a range of sources could offer significant insight and opportunities for mapping the

area where traditional research methods are limited.

 

View Full Brief Here

Bristol LEP launch new initiative to boost social enterprises

The West of England Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) is setting up a special network to help increase jobs in social enterprises.

Some 10,000 people are employed in 600 enterprises generating a turnover of nearly £400million. It is hoped the new organisation will boost those numbers and contribute to the LEP target of 95,000 new jobs in the area over the next 20 years.

LEP Chairman Colin Skellett said employment in social enterprises would play a significant part in the development of the local economy.

“Our task is to create jobs across every sector and to help businesses of all kinds to prosper and so to provide the broadest possible range of employment opportunities,” he said.

The new Social Enterprise Network will be initially led by a group of social entrepreneurs, practitioners and support organisations including the Bristol School for Social Entrepreneurs, Social Enterprise Works, Quartet Community Foundation and UnLtd.

For full article click here

Broadband networks plan in tatters due to EU budget – SMEs disappointed

Last week the European Council has reached political agreement on the expenditure for EU 28 for the period 2014-2020. Thus, the maximum total figure is €959,988 million in appropriations for commitments and € 908,400 million in appropriations for payments. This means a cut by €34 billion compared to what had been originally proposed. To the implementation of the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) 29,3 billion was allocated, which includes €10 billion that would be transferred from the Cohesion Fund. The amount previously earmarked for CEF was €50 billion. The agreed €29,3 billion would be distributed among the fields of transport, energy and telecommunications so that telecommunications would receive €1 billion, instead of the planned €9.2 billion.

The European Union’s Digital Agenda Commissioner Neelie Kroes expressed her disappointment about the decision on 9 February in a blog post.

She noted that the agreed sum “still leaves room to invest in service infrastructure, in fields like eProcurement and eInvoicing, that can support a digital single market and ensure top-quality, 21st century public services for Europeans”.

“But this funding will have to be exclusively for digital services: because such a smaller sum does not leave room for investing in broadband networks. I regret that: because broadband is essential for a digital single market, the rails on which all tomorrow’s digital services will run; and this could have been an innovative and highly-market oriented way to deliver it, almost budget-neutral in the long run.”

Kroes warned that the cut would also make it more difficult to reach the broadband targets for Europe such as ensuring fast broadband for all citizens by 2020. Still, she added it was important to stay focused on that goal and that she would continue with the cooperation with the European Investment Bank so that they would be actively involved in lending for broadband projects: “the recent capital increase of the Bank of €10 billion brings the promise of fresh broadband funding, and we should make the most of that”.

“The EU decision is a missed opportunity for Europe. Broadband is an indispensable infrastructure, which the ICT sector needs in order to deliver growth and jobs.” – Mr Charles Huthwaite, President of PIN-SME.