'Continuous improvement' CI is used to address issues and make improvements to processes. It has been reported this week that Microsoft found a security flaw in its default browser 'Internet Explorer' (IE) which may leave the majority of the world's internet users exposed to attacks from hackers looking to steal passwords and personal information. Hackers are thought to have corrupted around 10,000 websites so far. The company says it has found attacks on only Internet Explorer 7 but warned that other versions of the browser are possibly at risk. A spokesman for Microsoft, John Curran, said the problem had the potential to move world wide. (The Times Online, 16 December 2008).

Some security experts have advised IE computer users to switch to an alternative internet browser, such as Firefox or Google Chrome until an update is released, but Microsoft counselled against taking such action (BBC News, 16 December 2008).

Microsoft conceded that 1 in 500 internet users may have been exposed and is considering the release of an emergency update to correct the problem. In the meantime, it is suggesting users follow a 4 step process:

1. Keep your anti-virus up-to-date.

2. Reset Internet Explorer to run in protected mode.

3. Set zone security to high.

4. Ensure Windows is updated.

As with Microsoft, all companies need to have systems in place for problem solving or for enabling continuous improvements to products and processes. CI allows businesses to update and refine services or products for customers. Read The Times 100 case study on Corus on continuous improvement to see how and what processes it puts in place to stay ahead of the game.

See also The Times 100 case study on RWE npower on its practice of effective team based decision making which encourages team members to bounce ideas off each other as a means to finding solutions. Some solutions have saved RWE npower millions of pounds.