Security Risks: SMBs at Crossroads

by CXOtoday Staff    Apr 13, 2009

Symantec Corp’s 2009 Storage and Security in SMBs survey reported that small and medium businesses do rate viruses as their top security worry, yet more than 70 percent are somewhat/extremely concerned about spam and data breaches.

A high number have yet to take even the most basic steps towards protecting their businesses, such as implementing antivirus or backing up their data, according to the findings.

"Many small and midsized businesses are at a crossroads - aware of the need to strengthen their IT security infrastructure, but unsure how to do so with limited resources," said Kevin Murray, senior director, product marketing, Symantec. "As with their enterprise counterparts, security threats to small and midsized businesses are increasing in complexity, number and frequency, and the volume of information they must protect and maintain continue to expand."

As per the survey, three of five (59 percent) have not implemented endpoint protection (software that protects "end points" such as laptops, desktops and servers against malware). Forty-two percent of SMBs do not have an antispam solution. Almost half do not backup their desktop PCs, leaving their important information at risk. Finally, one-third of SMBs do not have the most basic protection of all - antivirus protection.

According to the study, system breakdown or hardware failure was the main cause of loss reported by SMBs.

The two main factors driving the SMB security gap were absence of dedicated IT staff and budget constraints. However, there are signs that things may be improving.

SMBs have reported that IT budgets are increasing In fact, 50 percent of respondents stated that they plan to increase IT security and storage spending in the next 12 months. To increase IT security spending in a major recession is a strong sign that SMBs value IT security, the survey stated.

Symantec’s Storage and Security in SMBs survey was conducted in February 2009 by Applied Research. The study targeted 1,425 small and medium sized businesses (10-500 employees) located in 17 countries around the globe.


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