Security a real concern to Aussie SMBs

Small businesses protect their assets and information from new and emerging threats

Australian small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) believe security risks from mobile applications and social networking are key areas of concern, despite the majority having established security and storage systems and procedures in place. Moreover, a survey by Symantec revealed that SMBs continue to invest in security and storage solutions to prevent data loss and ensure regulatory compliance.

The survey found that 83 per cent of respondents had put a policy in place to guide staff on Internet security practices and had installed some level of security solution, such as anti-virus software (90 per cent), firewall (88 per cent), spam filtering (76 per cent) or URL blocking (46 per cent). Conversely, many of the respondents stated budget, time, IT priorities, and lack of expertise as the biggest barriers to implementing security and storage solutions.

According to the survey, the key drivers for SMBs to secure and manage their information are greater awareness of the consequences of data loss, at 72 per cent, and regulatory compliance, at 27 per cent. In addition, the growing use of emerging technologies, particularly social networking and mobile applications, were increasingly considered to be potential security risks to businesses, at 33 per cent and 28 per cent respectively.

"The research showed that organisations were aware of the significant risks surrounding the storage of information and were clearly prepared to take no chances, with 98 per cent of Australian SMBs backing up their business critical information," said Steve Martin, mid-market manager for Australia and New Zealand at Symantec. "However, faced with new and evolving regulatory compliance requirements and a growing mobile workforce, SMBs are under increased pressure to secure and manage their information in a timely and cost-effective manner."

The survey revealed that while security threats were very much present, there were no significant increases in the impact of spam and Internet threats on SMBs during the last 12 months. This could suggest that SMBs have been able to maintain their security posture and refocus their attention on protecting their information from the increasing usage of new and emerging technologies as well as increasing productivity by automating and integrating essential IT functions.

Len Rust is publisher of The Rust Report

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