Govt hones in on Kiwi SMEs as spotlight shines on cyber security

"Recent reports show 60 percent of all cyber-attacks are aimed at SMEs.”

Communications Minister Amy Adams says the second annual Connect Smart Awareness Week is a reminder to be vigilant about online security.

Kicking off today, this year’s Connect Smart Week has a particular focus on educating and supporting SMEs.

Connect Smart is a growing public-partnership that promotes ways for individuals, businesses and schools to protect themselves online, with Connect Smart Week a concentrated week of activities to raise the profile of cyber security in New Zealand.

“Small businesses are absolutely critical to our economy and the internet is creating opportunities for New Zealand businesses to sell goods and services all over the world with ease,” Adams says.

“Businesses that use the internet to its full potential are six percent more productive than average.

"If we could get all SMEs online it could add up to NZ$34 billion in productivity gains to New Zealand.

“However 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 percent of all cyber-attacks are aimed at SMEs.”

Adams says SMEs could begin to improve their online security with a few simple steps including ensuring employees secured their smartphones with passwords.

Recent Connect Smart research showed that only half of New Zealanders with a work smartphone had a password on it (52 percent), and even fewer had passwords on their work tablets (44 percent).

“One of the key messages of Connect Smart is to encourage businesses to get online and make the most of the opportunities that internet has to offer,” Adams adds.

“Connect Smart is not about deterring people from the internet - it is about empowering New Zealand to use the internet wisely and in an educated way.”

Connect Smart started as week-long awareness campaign in 2014 but now operates throughout the year and includes over 100 partners from across the public.

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