The battle against e-crime and fraud received a boost last week, after parliament-industry group Eurim and the Institute for Public Policy Research called for key players in the government and IT to work together.
In its study, Protecting the Vulnerable, released last week, Eurim is pushing for a set of guidelines tailored to the needs of small businesses.
Recommendations include establishing a secure computing information resource maintained by the National Hi-Tech Crime Unit, a 'Green Cross Code' pack detailing codes of practice for the safe use of technology, the inclusion of practical ICT security modules in all publicly funded training courses and a Home Office advertising campaign highlighting the need for PC security.
According to Eurim, the UK has 2.6 million sole traders and 1.2 million businesses with fewer than 50 employees. They account for 99 per cent of the country's business and employ more than 40 per cent of the population.
Philip Virgo, secretary general of Eurim, said the guidelines have strong implications for the channel. "E-crime is no longer a specialist area. It affects everyone and has an impact on the entire UK economy," he said.
"We need a network of partnerships to fight different types of e-crime, such as identity fraud, card-not-present fraud, phishing and cyber-stalking. We also need a properly resourced reporting function so incidents can be directed to the right area for help.
"Selling secure systems is a commercially viable area for resellers. There are value-add opportunities such as annual security checks and updates, and educating small businesses in the benefits of investing in a secure system."
Daniel Mazliah, representative of the Federation of Small Businesses, welcomed the report.
"E-commerce has transformed the way we do business. But we regularly hear from members who are struggling with security. Small firms desperately need simple, up-to-date guidance that pulls together all the information they might need," he said.
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