"The development of e-commerce, one of the keys to the future of our economy, has without question been held back by doubts about security," Timms told an audience of IT professionals yesterday (5 September).
The guidelines, developed by the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), present companies with eight high-level principles designed to make IT and Internet systems more secure.
Timms said: "The guidelines are based on the idea that there should be a culture of security, that security considerations should be built-in from the outset to every aspect of our online experience."
The guidelines highlight the need for businesses to make proper risk assessments of the threats they are facing before spending money on IT protection systems.
They also call on businesses to review and update their security policies and practices continually, in the light of changing business needs and changing threats to their systems.
"We all share responsibility for security. It's not someone else's problem. If you are connected, you are responsible for conducting yourself in a way which ensures that you do not damage the interests of others," Timms added.
The e-commerce minister's comments came as the British Standards Institute unveiled an updated version of the information security management system, BS7799 Part 2. The new standard is designed to provide businesses with a means to comply with the OECD guidelines.
British Standards Institute updates BS7799 security >>