The small business problem

An interesting article in today’s ‘IT-Director’ said that 17% of small and medium businesses would consider buying illegal software. Given mankind’s tendency to want to appear whiter than in reality, the percentage actually buying illegal software must be somewhat higher – maybe 25% in total. Illegal software almost certainly means unpatched software and, if an organization has illegal software, what chance is there that it has deployed an up to date anti-virus and firewall system?

So, inevitably, there must be a substantial number of small (employing up to say 50 people) and medium (employing up to perhaps 250 people) businesses out there that have software systems that invite attack by the new, combined hacking, virus-writing and spamming community. As there are something like 3.8 million SMEs in the UK, this means that nearly 1 million UK businesses are primed and ready to be taken over and used – as relay bots and zombies – against all the rest of us.

Then there’s the SMBs in the rest of the world…….

So what can we do? Hard for any individual to have much of an impact on illegal activity – that’s what FAST is in the UK for. What we can – and must do – is ensure that our own systems are fully patched and protected – information security has never been so important. IT Governance, in 2005, must be the critical board room issue…..