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Small Businesses are Vulnerable to Security Attacks

December 22nd, 2005

Study from the Small Business Technology Institute and Symantec reveals that more than half of small businesses have experienced at least one security incident in the past year. The study titled “Small Business Information Security Readiness” confirms that small business are increasingly vulnerable to attack and urges the adoption of security technology to protect information assets and minimize business risk.

The report findings reveal that the rate of information security exposure is growing as small businesses deploy increasingly sophisticated information technology (IT) infrastructure and automate more of their business processes. The report concludes that small businesses must take immediate steps to protect themselves from the productivity and economic losses that occur when sensitive business data is compromised as a result of viruses, hackers, privacy threats or disasters.

“Small businesses are just as likely to experience information security threats and risks as large enterprises, so it’s pertinent they have the right resources to protect their critical assets,” said Enrique Salem, senior vice president, security products and solutions, Symantec.

“Symantec has played an instrumental role in protecting small businesses through the security solutions we offer and our educational books and CD-ROMs, which address the unique needs of small businesses. Symantec’s partnerships with organizations like the SBTI have given us the opportunity to conduct research and create tools that allow us to lead the way in providing small businesses with the right resources to truly be secure.”

Many small businesses lack sufficient security controls over even basic systems such as e-mail (20 per cent are not secured) and wireless networks present a new area of concern (60 percent are not secured). Most small businesses (75 per cent) perform no formal information security planning to counter these threats.

The majority of small businesses (56 per cent) have experienced at least one security incident in the past year, citing computer viruses, spyware and other malware as the main cause (60 per cent). Yet only a small number (30 per cent) have increased spending on information security solutions and less than half (43 per cent) allocate a specific budget for these solutions.

The majority (70 per cent) of small businesses feel information security product materials could be improved to help them make more informed purchasing decisions, and small businesses continue to call for products which meet specific small business requirements.

“The National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) firmly believes that securing small businesses’ computers plays a crucial role in protecting our nation’s Internet infrastructure,” said Ron Teixeira, executive director, National Cyber Security Alliance. “We support the efforts undertaken by the SBTI and Symantec to shed more light on the security issues affecting small businesses throughout the nation, and we encourage continued education and action to help strengthen the security of small businesses throughout the nation.”

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