Dear StartupNation: When I started my business not long ago, my top tech concerns were picking the right PCs, getting high speed Internet access, building a Web site and adding e-commerce. Now I worry most about computer security, including virus and spam protection, firewalls, hackers and more. What should I be doing?
The trend in technology for small business has definitely taken a turn. Surveys show that business owners now rank computer security among the most crucial survival and growth issues they face. “Any small business that’s not worried about computer security isn’t paying attention,” says Kevin Gilroy, who heads the small business division at HP. “The threat is real, serious and growing.”
Independent tech consultants who work with small businesses say they now spend 25 percent of their time helping entrepreneurs solve computer security issues, ranging from fixing firewalls to upgrading virus protection. That’s a big jump from previous years. And tech experts who help business owners buy, customize and install various technology and software say their small business customers saw more virus and hacker attacks in 2004 than ever before.
“Internet attacks are growing, and helping small businesses with office security issues is rapidly becoming priority number one among IT solution providers,” says Russell Morgan, president of the Information Technology Solution Providers Alliance (ITSPA), a Dallas, TX-based non-profit group. “Small business owners are more aware than ever that they are just as vulnerable to security attacks, viruses and worms as big business. And they are realizing their security systems must be sophisticated to repel those threats.” We offer six small business tips to help you maintain a safe and secure PC environment.