Canadian feds to invest $80 million in IT as threat of data breach rises
November 15, 2011
Small businesses and entrepreneurs in Canada's blossoming information technology sector may receive a welcome boost from the federal government. The move signifies the Canadian government's efforts to bolster the country's already vibrant high-tech sector and to support job creation in growth markets such as IT.
Minister of Industry Christian Paradis announced Monday the government will invest a total of $80 million over the next three years to help accelerate the adoption of information and communication technologies among small and mid-sized businesses.
"The Government of Canada is investing in the people and ideas that drive the digital economy," said Minister Paradis in a statement. "This new program will help more than 600 small- and medium-sized enterprises integrate innovative technologies into their businesses and create jobs and economic growth."
Officials reported the program has three main objectives:
1.) Support and increase the adoption of digital technologies by small businesses throughout all economic sectors.
2.) Raise awareness of the productivity benefits and importance of these technologies.
3.) Improve public understanding of the link between digital technologies and productivity by gathering data from participating firms.
The pledge also comes amid rising data security concerns in the country. According to a joint study released this week by telecom firm Telus and the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management, the number of data breaches in Canada and the cost of handling them have soared since the 2008 financial crisis.
The average Canadian public company endured 18 breaches in 2011, up from less than 12 breaches in the previous year. However, Government agencies managed to reverse the trend, as there were just 17 incidents this year, compared to 22 in 2010.
"But insider breaches, where an employee deliberately accesses confidential information, spiked in the government sector despite falling in public and private companies," Reuters reports. "Forty-two percent of breaches in government were perpetuated by insiders, which the researchers called 'the most startling finding from the research.'"
Overall, the findings underscore the need for small and large companies alike to take the necessary steps to secure their financial, payroll, staffing and other forms of data. As technological innovations show no signs of slowing, there is little room for data managers to underestimate their security.