Small business needs to secure its future

Small businesses and home office users are at just as much risk as large enterprises when it comes to hacking and security attacks.

Mike Martucci, global VP of marketing for security provider WatchGuard, said there is a misconception among small businesses that they will not be a target for hackers. "We think hackers practise on small businesses then attack the big companies," he said. "They (small businesses) are at just as much risk."

Martucci said "always-on" internet connections, such as cable and DSL (digital subscriber line) services, pose even greater risks. The risk of a security breach for always-on connections is 10 times greater than that for dial-up services, he said.

"Large companies understand the issues, but when broadband comes online, small enterprises and telecommuters will have no idea."

According to Martucci, small enterprises are yet to consider the security issues which large enterprises have already overcome. He said that while large enterprises are concerned with monitoring their network and security infrastructure, SMEs are still grappling with the technology. "Small business like to put off the decisions . . . large companies are more interested in how to manage their security and network effectively."

WatchGuard has recently expanded its target market and product offerings to address security issues for SME and SOHO users, Martucci said. The organisation is also establishing partnerships with ISPs worldwide to enable the provision of remote security to users.

Martucci said WatchGuard is close to signing up a large Australian ISP for the service known as Managed Security Services.

Education on the security issues faced by consumers using cable or DSL services is an area overlooked by providers, especially those in the US, he said. "I can't speak for Australia, but if it mirrors what's going on in the States, they do provide some education for large enterprises, but at the low end they haven't been very aggressive."

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