Network Security Threat Key Concern for SMBs

Tuesday, June 29, 2010 @ 12:06 PM gHale

With the average cost per breach coming in at $188,000 per hit, small and midsize businesses (SMBs) are now seeing the light and putting a higher priority on security issues.
In a severe cost conscious environment, SMBs’ attitudes about security and data integrity are now on alert and they are spending more dollars on technology to circumvent security issues which could cost them in the end, according to a report published by security provider Symantec.[private]
“Last year when we conducted this survey, a lot of SMBs were very confident in their security posture, but they weren’t always clear on the threat,” said Monica Girolami, senior product marketing manager at Symantec, who worked with Applied Research on the study. “This year they realize that they have gaps in their security stance, and they’re getting more serious in fact, they rated data loss and cyberattacks as their top risks, even above natural disasters.”
In the study of IT 2,500 executives, half from companies of less than 100 employees and half from companies in the 100-to-499 employee rang, the researchers found new concern over the risk of data loss.
The respondents ranked data loss and cyberattacks as their top business risks, ahead of traditional criminal activity, natural disasters, and terrorism, according to the report. SMBs are now spending an average of $51,000 a year working on information protection, including computer security, backup, recovery, and archiving, as well as disaster preparedness.
Loss of critical business information threatens SMBs, Symantec officials said. Just over 70% of respondents (74%) said they remain somewhat or extremely concerned about losing electronic information. As a matter of fact, 42% of respondents said they have lost confidential or proprietary information already.
All of the companies that lost data reported seeing direct financial losses, such as lost revenue or costs in money or goods.
One of the top issues is lost devices. Almost two-thirds of businesses polled said they had lost devices such as laptops or smartphones in the past 12 months. All of the respondents have at least some devices that have no password protection and they cannot remotely clean them of data.
SMBs also fear cyberattacks, according to the study. Of all the respondents, 73% said they were victims of cyberattacks in the past year; 30% were somewhat or extremely successful. All of the victims saw losses in areas like downtime, loss of important corporate data, or loss of personally identifiable information of customers or employees. These losses led to direct costs such as lost productivity, lost revenue, and loss of customer trust, the researchers said.
The average cost of a breach in an SMB was $188,242, according to the study.
Cyberattacks are not just for the big guys and SMBs are just now beginning to recognize that fact.[/private]

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