Symantec SMB Study Shows Data Loss Biggest IT Worry

SMBs spend $51,000 per year on average to safeguard data in noticeable turnabout from last year.

Symantec Corp. said that small- to medium-sized businesses regard data protection as their highest IT priority, a concern driven by upticks in cyber crime, lost devices and risks to confidential and proprietary data.

Officials said that the findings, gleaned from the vendor’s study of 2,152 SMB executives worldwide, contrast noticeably with results from a similar endeavor conducted slightly over a year ago when a third of SMBs declined to install basic data safeguards, seemingly unaware of potential security risks.

“Small and mid-sized organizations are facing increased risks to their confidential information—including bank accounts, credit card information and customer and employee records,” said Bernard Laroche, Symantec senior director, product marketing.

“Whether it’s due to a malware attack, a server crash or a stolen mobile device, loss of information can be highly detrimental, if not fatal, for an SMB,” he said.

“A year ago, a Symantec survey found one-third of SMBs did not have the most basic protection of all—antivirus protection,” Laroche said. “It is exciting to see that SMBs acknowledge the risks they face and are taking action to protect their information more completely.”

Survey results show SMBs investing in data protection

Specific results from the survey show SMBs making significant annual investments in data protection, spending an average of $51,000 per year and two-thirds of IT staff time to protect critical information, including security, backup, recovery, archiving and disaster preparation.

Nearly 90 percent of SMBs in the study said that they have a disaster preparedness plan, although all but a handful believe that the plan is somewhat lacking.

The survey also revealed that 74 percent of SMBs are concerned about losing electronic information, with some 42 percent having experienced a data loss in the past, resulting in lost revenue or increased costs.

Slightly less than two-thirds of SMBs in the study also reported lost mobile devices in the past 12 months, including laptop computers, smartphones or iPads. Of those SMBs, all have some devices that lack password protection with data that cannot be remotely deleted.

Nearly three-fourth of the survey’s participants said that their businesses had been victimized by a cyber attack in the past year, resulting in tangible losses from downtime, lost corporate data and lost personal information on customers and employees.

Symantec said that SMBs should educate employees on Internet safety and security, take appropriate safety measures to protect important business information, install a backup and recovery plan, and use email and Web security solutions that neutralize threats.

TAGS: IT spending,Symantec,data protection,cyber crime,mobile security

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