By Jordo McHugh

We know digital technologies and devices have become an important part of Australian life, and that shoppers are increasingly heading online to research products and make purchases.

As retailers, it’s our responsibility to make sure we’re doing as much as we can to protect the privacy of shoppers who are handing over their hard-earned dollars, and entrusting us with their information.

I run a bricks and mortar-turned-online butcher shop, so know firsthand that businesses, even of the smallest scale, have a duty of care to protect their customers.

This means making cyber security a priority: taking all the necessary precautions to protect customer information, keeping updated about new cyber security developments and educating customers where possible.

My business has grown significantly since my “Chop Shop” expanded from its traditional beginnings, so for me, investing time into my online presence, including online security, has been well worth it and gives me an edge against competitors.

Because so much about transacting with small businesses online relies on trust, I’ve taken as much care with online safety precautions as I do with my strict food and safety processes. This thinking should apply to all dipping their toe in ecommerce for the first time.

Research conducted for the Department of Broadband Communication and the Digital Economy and out today reveals that small business owners are more savvy than the average Australian when it comes to cyber security; they are more likely to protect their mobile phones and update their passwords more regularly than others. This is positive news and a good place to start.

As an ambassador for the 2013 National Cyber Security Awareness Week, which runs from 20-24 May, I’m urging all retailers, small and large, to take the time to review the cyber security measures you have in place for your business, and to identify where your gaps might be.

Installing security software, developing a backup strategy for critical data, assigning one person in your organisation to manage your network security, developing clear policies for staff and a ‘culture of security’, and using spam filters are very important actions all within your control.

More information on these steps and more can be found at I also recommend you sign up to the Stay Smart Online Alert Service for the latest updates on online threats and scams, and solutions to manage the risks.

With so much to gain from setting up shop online, we must also remember there’s so much to lose if we don’t treat our customers’ information as we would our own.

Jordo’s Chop Shop has grown from a traditional bricks and mortar business to an online meat market delivering services across Canberra.