Call for SMEs to get a cybersecurity ‘warrant of fitness’

Communications Minister Amy Adams kicks off the second annual Connect Smart Week with a reminder to be vigilant about online security.

Adams says a particular focus this year is educating and supporting SMEs, which represent over 90 per cent of total businesses in New Zealand.

“Businesses that use the internet to its full potential are 6 per cent more productive than average. If we could get all SMEs online it could add up to $34 billion in productivity gains to New Zealand.”

She adds: “SMEs often don’t have the resources available to spend on security that bigger businesses do which leaves them vulnerable to online intrusion. Recent reports show 60 per cent of all cyberattacks are aimed at SMEs.”

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment estimates there are 459,300 SMEs in New Zealand. These include micro (1 to 5 employees), and small (6 to 19 employees) enterprises.

SMEs are advised to get a cybersecurity ‘warrant of fitness’ by taking the following steps:

One: Assess the cyber security of your business

Two:Develop a cyber-security policy for your business

Three: Establish an incident management plan

Four: Regularly review and update your network security systems

Related:The top cyber risks for NZ in an interconnected world

Recent reports show 60 per cent of all cyberattacks are aimed at SMEs. Communications Minister Amy Adams

Guard your privacy

Peter Chisnall, country manager for MasterCard New Zealand, echoes the same cybersecurity message, focusing on consumers.

Peter Chisnall of MasterCard at a CIO roundtable discussion.

“As Kiwis increasingly shop online, they should remain alert, especially when they are sharing personal information,” says Chisnall.

“Guard your privacy and do not disclose personal information unless you know who is collecting it and how it is being used,” he advises.

“Some websites sell their customer information to third parties, so check the small print and opt out of sharing your information if you don’t want other people to use it.”

“It’s not difficult to set up a page on the Internet, so the onus is on you to do some background research on the retailer you are buying from, especially if they are not a familiar brand name or you have not come across their website before.”

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