Local Businesses Learn to Overcome Pitfalls in Technology at First Local Enterprise Office Event in County Wicklow
Over 70 businesses from around County Wicklow attended the first seminar of the new Local Enterprise Office at The Parkview Hotel last Wednesday. Carrying on Wicklow County Enterprise Board’s history of technology seminars, the topic on this occasion was Technology Pitfalls, and how to overcome them.
Mike Harris, Cyber Security Services Partner at Grant Thornton and keynote speaker for the event, also lectures at the UCD Cyber Crime Institute. He talked about many of the dangers facing the small business community in Ireland, and how to overcome them. Mike gave a number of tips, concluding with 10 things a small business can do for their own security:
- Train your Employees on basic security practice, have strong passwords and change them every 3 months
- Protect your network and computers from attacks by installing antivirus software and by installing key software updates regularly
- Install a firewall on your internet connection, or contact your ISP to make sure they have one!
- Encrypt all mobile technology used in your business – from laptops to tablets to Smartphones – and set up a reporting structure for loss
- Backup all your important business data every day – and remember to test the backups to make sure they have not corrupted over time
- Control access – make sure each employee has a separate computer or separate account on the network, password protect them all
- Secure your wireless networks – speak to your service provider about this, hide your wi-fi network, password protect it and use strong passwords
- If you process payments online as part of your business, talk to your bank about using anti-fraud services and don’t use the same computer to process payments and surf the web if possible
- Limit employee authority to install software and do not allow one employee have access to everything – you never know what may happen
- Have a planned response to a cyber attack – it’s not a case of “what if” it’s a case of “when”
After a great coffee break at which all 70 business made great use of their time networking, Andrew Connolly from the Irish Domain Registry (IEDR) took to the stage to discuss how the .ie domain is one of the safest in the world. Ideally for many of the businesses in the room, Andrew also mentioned a special fund the IEDR have for SMEs who wish to enhance their presence online, for example by including or improving their online shop. The eCommerce fund is called OPTIMISE and is available to any small business in Ireland who has a .ie website. You can receive up to €7,500 from the IEDR to help improve your business – no matter what type of sector you operate in. Andrew explained the OPTIMISE fund and said that the 2014 fund would be launched on Friday 9th May. More details on that fund can be found at www.iedr.ie
The final two guest speakers at the event took to the stage together; well known Community Manager and member of the Irish Twitterati, Darragh Doyle spoke with his business partner Ciamh McCrory of Jeanie Mc Communications. Jeanie is also a lecturer at the European Institute of Communicatons in Dublin, and works in Sales & Marketing for Cyclone Couriers. Together they covered the huge opportunities and some dangers in social media – how things can go terribly wrong, such as the incident at Cinnamon Restaurant in Ranelagh last year which had them on the front pages of many newspapers, to some great tips on how easy it can be if you follow one simple rule: be nice!
Also speaking at the event, Head of Local Enterprise Sheelagh Daly explained the new organisational structure of the Local Enterprise Office Wicklow, which was previously known as the Wicklow County Enterprise Board Ltd. Sheelagh explained the enhanced services of LEO Wicklow to the assembled business owners, and encouraged them to join the team on Facebook, after Darragh & Ciamh’s talk. The LEO Wicklow Facebook page is where the most up to date communications from the team are published, and can be accessed and “liked” at www.facebook.com/localenterprisewicklow.