How IT Can Save SMBs Big Money
If there is an evergreen discussion theme at conferences or other gatherings of IT managers and executives, it's on ways of reducing costs while upping productivity.
A new poll conducted by Symantec has revealed the surprising fact that many small and mid-sized businesses do not consider themselves possible targets of cyber attacks. As such, many SMBs do not implement the proper precautions to protect themselves against such threats.
The telephone survey was conducted by Applied Research, which spoke with 1,900 organizations worldwide, with equal representation from businesses with 5 to 49 employees, 50 to 99 employees, 100 to 249 employees and 250 to 499 employees. Findings were detailed in the "SMB Threat Awareness Poll," which can be downloaded here (pdf).
The result came as a surprise given the generally high awareness of respondents on the kind of threats faced by businesses today, as well as the impact that a security infiltration could have on their operations. For instance, when quizzed on their knowledge of vectors or attacks that can pose a security threat, the majority of respondents indicated that they were somewhat or completely familiar with the dangers of DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks, use of shortened URLs and keystroke logging.
As outlined on page 11 of the report:
It must be pointed out that the phrasing of the questions has the effect of skewing businesses that are not fully prepared to tackle the security problems that were previously mentioned to the last option. However, the very fact that less than half of SMBs felt they were prepared should also serve as a warning.
Last year, security vendor McAfee released a report that hackers are increasingly targeting mid-sized companies. As I wrote at that time, about one third of the organizations said they were attacked repeatedly, effectively debunking the myth that targeted attacks only happen to governments and enterprises.
In a statement, Steve Cullen, Symantec's senior vice president of worldwide marketing for SMB and Symantec.Cloud had this to say about the company's research:
Our research shows that SMBs are quite vulnerable to cyberattacks, and it's more important than ever for them to take steps to keep their information safe.
Symantec furnished several simple practices that SMBs can follow to protect themselves, which I summarize below:
As further reading, you may also want to check out an earlier blog post on how hackers target SMBs and how to deter them.