TT25: Technological Threats and Opportunities

July 25, 2002

Your business relies upon providing your customers or clients with an uninterrupted service – could it continue to do this without modern technology?

From your computers and photocopier to software controlled machinery, basic measures should be undertaken to minimise risks to your business:

  1. Anti-virus software – do you have this? Is it up to date? Attacks happen daily and your virus definition files should be updated regularly. Can you recognise hoax virus warnings and stop your staff acting on their false instructions? See opposite to find where you can get such information.
  2. Do you have firewalls to prevent your systems being hacked via your Internet and e-mail connection? The availability of broadband Internet connections that are permanently open to the world makes this an important area of protection.
  3. Do you have a policy for disks and CDs entering your system as well as emails? What about a policy for data leaving your system?
  4. Backups – do you do this? Are they properly archived off-site? How old is your restorable data? Is it yesterday’s or last week’s?
  5. Have you tested a “restore” from your backups? Many businesses only “test” this when it is too late and they need to restore.
  6. Licensing – are you legal? The Federation Against Software Theft will prosecute for pirate software. You must also control what software your staff loads into your system as you remain legally responsible.
  7. Microsoft is introducing a new licensing policy. Failure to get your licenses in order this month may be an expensive oversight as the costs are set to rise from 31 July 2002.
  8. Do you understand the rigours of the Data Protection Act?
  9. Could you use Electronic Signatures to “lock” electronic documents from unauthorised or undetected alteration when they have been issued to customers or suppliers?
  10. Do you have a disaster recovery plan? This should be broad enough to ensure your whole business has the necessary information to recover swiftly should the worst happen.


Despite the above doom and gloom there are many business opportunities made available by the use of new technology.

Barnes Roffe Topical Tips

  • Broadband – fix and probably reduce your phone bill for Internet and e-mail whilst obtaining very fast, instant e-mail and web browsing.
  • E-mail – contacting your customers by e-mailshots is cheap, instant and effective.
  • Application Service Provision – external specialist companies will host your computer software, processing and data storage and protection, whilst you process it remotely over the Internet. Could this be a good way of letting the specialists take the strain?
  • Microsoft licensing – get it right now and save in the long term. The new pricing structure will allow you to buy your licenses ahead at a cheaper rate. Contact your IT advisor.
  • Could e-Trading be an easier add-on to your accounting software than you think? Most major accounting package manufacturers have developed e-trading modules.
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