IT Infrastructure Struggle for SMBs: Report

Monday, August 6, 2018 @ 02:08 PM gHale

IT infrastructures continue to present a problem for small to medium-sized businesses, a new report found.

Two-thirds (66 percent) of very small business (VSB – less than 50 employees) and small and medium-sized business (SMB – 50-249 employees) IT staff face challenges around managing a heterogeneous IT infrastructure, according to a report from Kaspersky Lab 2018 B2B Survey.

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VSBs and SMBs claim that data security is the number one business challenge they face.
The annual Kaspersky Lab Corporate IT Security Risks survey is a global survey of IT business decision makers, which had 3,041 IT personnel respondents from VSBs and SMBs in 29 countries. The report, “Growing businesses safely: Cloud adoption vs. security concerns,” provides insight on the global trends and challenges VSBs and SMBs face as they navigate managing IT security with the adoption of cloud tools and services.

The growing complexity of the cloud requires SMBs to take a new approach to infrastructure management, but the report findings indicate a lack of IT staff with the skills to overcome this challenge.

Thirty-two percent of VSBs and 14 percent of SMBs trust staff members who are not IT specialists to manage IT security, researchers found. IT security management should be as important as growing the business and if neglected or not managed by professionals, this could result in a real risk to the companies’ sensitive corporate data.

As businesses grow, they increasingly embrace new tools and cloud services to allow employees to be more efficient and flexible, but these also present security risks if not managed by IT properly.

According to the report, 49 percent of VSBs and 64 percent of SMBs have valuable client data stored on staff members’ mobile devices. If this data is leaked, it has the potential to result in serious reputational damage to the company, as well as financial losses resulting from litigation. While enterprise-level companies normally have the resources and finances to address this type of incident, the consequences for smaller organizations could mean damaging disruptions in operations or even loss of business. 

Small companies, and those going through a rapid growth phase see cloud technology as an opportunity to manage business tasks in a more efficient and cost-effective way. The results show 50 percent of VSBs and 40 percent of SMBs have employees who regularly work outside of the office and need access to data and applications via the cloud.

Additionally, as companies expand, they experience a growing need for cloud services: 73 percent of SMBs and 56 percent of VSBs use at least one cloud service. Among the most popular SaaS tools are email, document storage, and collaboration services, finance and accounting. However, small companies do not have a clear understanding of who is responsible for these assets since they are being processed in cloud services and often rely on the provider. For example, 64 percent of VSB respondents are convinced the provider is responsible for the security of document exchange applications, while 56 percent of SMB respondents share this opinion.

“To enjoy the advantages of cloud computing regardless of the growth stage they are in, businesses need to effectively manage an array of cloud platforms and services,” said Maxim Frolov, a vice president at Kaspersky Lab. “Fundamental to this is being able to clearly recognize who is responsible for cybersecurity in IT infrastructures that are continuing to increase in complexity. Whether it is managed by internal staff or a trusted adviser, cybersecurity cannot be overlooked. All businesses should, therefore, establish a dedicated role within which the security of cloud platforms, sensitive data, and business processes are kept under control.”

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