As we look back upon our short series of blogs allied and attached to the AVG Market Landscape Report 2011, it is plain to see we still need to remind ourselves of some core messages.

Unpredictability is the new norm, mobile computing is impacting IT security to a previously unprecedented level, security breaches are really happening in the here and now and, by golly, they can be extremely expensive to fix and put straight


SMB’s are like automobiles

The task of summing up some of the learnings (to use the plural) here is tough in some senses because there are so many sensitive areas to cover; hence, the suggestion that small to medium sized businesses are like cars or automobiles came to the fore.

An SMB is essentially a complex piece of engineering built from a central architectural structure or chassis with many additional components, all of which (through a process of constant use and wear and tear) will need maintenance and replacement and upgrade.


Potholes and pitfalls

Then there is the driver and passengers, the human element i.e. the unpredictable constituents of the mix whose individual choices determine the direction and path to be taken. The road is not always flat and straight, but is far more often twisted and bumpy. As much as a car journey is a process of avoiding potholes and pitfalls, so is the daily operation of an SMB if it is to stay it course.

Taking the analogy a couple of steps further, of you want to protect your car just as you would protect your business. So while you would want to wax and polish your paint job and make sure that you put the best grade of unleaded fuel in your tank, why would you want to pay any less attention to the exterior and interior power and protection mechanisms you use within your small business?

Think of the exterior as the desktops your employees use to interact with company data, as well as your web pages and customer portal where third parties come into contact with your products and services.

Equally, think of the interior environment not as an engine with spark plugs and pistons, but as a company database that needs not only anti-virus and malware protection, but also oil and grease in the shape of additional protection services such as firewalls and anti-rootkit protection layers.

OK so it’s a slightly lighthearted somewhat obvious parallel to draw, but if anything an SMB may well be likened to a second hand car rather than something straight out of the showroom. Compromises may have been made here and there to save costs during start up and you may be running with approved re-mould tyres for the first twelve to eighteen months before you start buying brand new equipment.

The key thing to remember here is not to guide the business down a dead end street with no exit straight into an IT security infection.

So, buy a map, fill up on fuel, check the SatNav directions if you have them, ask others who might have traveled the same route beforehand how they found the journey and – as you’re going to want to keep running for as long as you can – find out what the parking is like so you know where the safest place to put down roots is.