Running a business has always demanded that you be some kind of multi-headed beast, capable of turning your hand to anything and solving the problems everyone else has thrown their hands up at.

That’s hard enough even when there are clear lines between the different disciplines involved. The trouble is, the distinctions between different parts of any business seem to be getting more and more blurred by the year (month/week?).

Because that blurring happens over time, you don’t always notice it creeping up. You no doubt hear all the time about topics such as planning and managing IT, information security and avoiding the risks therein. And then there are the other disciplines, like marketing and promotion, financial management, human resources, regulatory compliance. All ‘things’ in their own right.

What’s blurred is that rarely now do any of those things stand alone. Your relationship with government is in many ways managed online (HMRC account, Companies House account), payroll may have data flowing between your office and your management accountants, even taxing company or personal vehicles happens digitally now.

Lose the sticky note!

Where all this comes together is in recognising that all of the ends badly need to be tied-up. You can’t ignore IT as simply the part where a contractor comes in and sets up your new computer or the office manager has the passwords for all of your services on a sticky note attached to their monitor.

You, your staff (maybe even your kids when they get their hands on company kit) are using multiple social accounts and file sharing sites. Those same devices might contain data about your customers and staff – or at least the keys to access that information.

If you think it won’t happen to you, that’s probably what the users of a website set up to help people cheat on their spouses thought – but now that data has been stolen too

You might think that serves them right! But the lesson is clear. How many of those people will have used the same password for that site as they do for work content? Answer: far too many. Now they and their employers even, could be targets for blackmail at worst and serious embarrassment at the very least.

Many critical aspects of your business and of your personal life are now online, even if you don’t consider yourself a natural citizen of the internet. Technological change has just kind of crept up on everyone and some have embraced the change more directly than others.

That’s a large part of the reason that the Government has prioritised this area and is right now beginning a new push on its Cyber Essentials initiative, including providing vouchers for firms to boost their knowledge and defences.

No longer can or should you compartmentalise the technology into something that someone else deals with. Now it’s at the heart of everything.