SMBs lack basic security and storage measures: Symantec

Global survey finds company security and storage structures lacking

A group of surveyed small and medium businesses (SMBs) from the region lack basic security and storage measures, said information security vendor Symantec.

The results came from Symantec's 2009 Global SMB Security and Storage survey, which drew responses from 600 companies out of Asia Pacific and Japan (APJ).

The report noted the low adoption of basic security measures in the region with 56 per cent of SMBs not having an endpoint protection solution and 53 per cent without a desktop backup and recovery solution.

Findings on storage showed that 70 per cent of these SMBs are extremely concerned with backup and recovery of data, followed by disaster recovery planning and strategy (64 per cent), and archiving data and e-mails (56 per cent). Yet 53 per cent of SMBs have not deployed desktop backup and recovery solutions, and 45 per cent perform backup on a weekly or less frequent basis.

These gaps in basic levels of security, despite an awareness of the current internal and external threats among the region's SMBs, are driving an increase in security breaches, with the most common causes being system breakdowns and hardware failure, human error and improper or out-of -date security solutions. Lack of budget (41 per cent) and employee skills (40 per cent) were cited as the main barriers to securing the SMB environment.

The report also indicated that 52 per cent of SMBs has previously suffered a security breach and the risk of suffering a recurring security breach is higher than other regions around the world.

Majority to increase spending

Respondents were from a wide range of industries, including financial services, manufacturing and telecommunications. The size of companies of respondents ranged from 10 to 500 employees. The survey was conducted in February 2009 by Applied Research, covering 10 APJ countries including Japan, South Korea, India, Australia, New Zealand, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia.

Meanwhile, the survey revealed that 84 per cent of IT spending by SMBs in APJ will increase (57 per cent) or remain the same (27 per cent) this year despite the current economic uncertainty.

System upgrades, automated patch management and data replication ranked as the top three IT investment priorities for the region's SMBs this year.

The survey also revealed that the top three concerns of SMBs are viruses, data breaches, and loss of confidential or proprietary information through USB and other devices.

"Small and medium businesses usually have limited time, money and expertise to secure and manage their information from external and internal threats. Often, more pressing business needs will take precedence over security, backup and recovery for computer and network systems, leaving businesses vulnerable to data and system losses and causing serious damage and business interruption," said Bernard Kwok, Symantec's senior vice president for Asia Pacific and Japan.

"By automating key processes such as backup and recovery, endpoint protection and data loss prevention, SMBs can improve cost efficiencies and streamline manageability that allow them more resources and time to focus on their core businesses," he said.

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