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Digital Literacy Becomes A Core Skill For Small Business Employees

Written by Ken Gaebler
Published: 11/8/2012

A new report shows that more than half of small business employers consider digital literacy to be a required skill for all new hires.

It's not surprising that more and more small companies are relying on technology and digital channel resources to conduct business. But a recent study by the National Cyber Security Alliance and Symantec revealed some surprising insights about how pervasive digital channel technology has become across the small business community.

Digital Literacy for Small Business Employees

In a survey of more than 1,000 U.S. small and medium-sized businesses, more than half indicated that applicants must demonstrate a certain amount of digital proficiency in order to be seriously considered for employment.

Key findings from the report included:

  • Ethics. 59 percent of SMB respondents said that the ethical and responsible use of technology -- as it relates to email, social media and other online interactions -- is a workforce essential.
  • Security. Knowledge of Internet security practices (e.g. password protection, safe web browsing, awareness of phishing and other online scams) is a key hiring criteria for 58 percent of SMBs.
  • Intellectual Property. The protection of the company's intellectual property is a core skill for 55 percent of survey respondents.

"Small businesses are expressing a strong need for employees with basic skills and knowledge about how to use technology safely, securely, ethically and productively," said Michael Kaiser, executive director of the National Cyber Security Alliance. "Given the role of small businesses in our economy, it's so important to integrate cybersecurity training into all education levels -- from K-life. SMBs should also provide ongoing training to employees to be sure skills are reinforced and new skills are developed as the technology changes."

To improve their companies' technology skill sets, small business owners need to recognize the important role company-sponsored training plays in the health and vitality of their workforce, especially around technology and digital literacy topics. By creating a learning organization, SMBs gain the ability to stay ahead of the curve by equipping employees with the updated skills they need to thrive in the workplace.

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