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Gerhard Eschelbeck

SMBs ‘not seeing cyber attacks as major threat’

Dubai, November 20, 2013

Many small and midsize businesses (SMBs) are potentially putting their organizations at risk because of uncertainty about the state of their security and threats faced from cyber attacks, a report said.

Senior management of these SMBs is failing to prioritize cyber security, which is preventing them from establishing a strong IT security posture, added Risk of an Uncertain Security Strategy study conducted by Ponemon Institute.

Of 2,000 respondents surveyed globally, 58 per cent confirmed that management does not see cyber attacks as a significant risk to their business. Despite this, IT infrastructure and asset security incidences, as well as wider security related disruptions, were found to have cost these SMBs a combined average of $1,608,111 over the past 12 months.

The research, sponsored by Sophos, a UK-based IT solutions provider, also identified that the more senior the position of the decision maker in the business, the more uncertainty there was surrounding the seriousness of the potential threat.

“The scale of cyber attack threats is growing every single day,“ said Gerhard Eschelbeck, chief technology officer for Sophos, “yet this research shows that many SMBs are failing to appreciate the dangers and potential losses they face from not adopting a suitably robust IT security posture.”

According to the research, there are three main challenges preventing the adoption of a strong security posture: failure to prioritize security (44 per cent); insufficient budget (42 per cent); and a lack of in-house expertise (33 per cent). In many SMBs there is also no clear owner responsible for cyber security, which often means it falls into the purview of the CIO.

“Today in SMBs, the CIO is often the ‘only information officer’, managing multiple and increasingly complex responsibilities within the business,” said Eschelbeck.

“However, these ‘OIOs’ can’t do everything on their own and as employees are demanding access to critical apps, systems and documents from a diverse range of mobile devices, it would appear security is often taking a back seat.”

The study also reveals uncertainty around whether ‘Bring Your Own Device’ policies (BYOD) and the use of the cloud are likely to contribute to the possibility of cyber attacks. Seventy-seven per cent of respondents said the use of cloud applications and IT infrastructure services will increase or stay the same over the next year, yet a quarter of those surveyed indicated they did not know if this was likely to impact security.

Similarly, 69 per cent said that mobile access to business critical applications would increase in the next year, despite the fact that half believe this will diminish security postures.

“Small and midsize organizations simply cannot afford to disregard security,” said Larry Ponemon, president of the Ponemon Institute.

“Without it there’s more chance that new technology will face cyber attacks, which is likely to cost the business substantial amounts. CIOs are under pressure to implement new technology that informs agile and efficient ways of working, but this should not take precedence over security. The industry needs to recognize the potential dangers of not taking cyber security seriously and create support systems to improve SMB security postures,” he added. – TradeArabia News Service




Tags: SMB | Sophos | Small business | cyber attacks |

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