Small businesses are failing to take action against online security risks, according to the Institute of Directors (IoD). Its research highlights unregulated download services and instant message application as major security risks.
The IoD investigation into its members revealed that 66 per cent of small businesses are aware that their employees are violating security policy on download services and email applications, yet eight per cent still lack the most basic online protection.
Fifty per cent of small firms cite their staff as the highest security risk and yet lack the most basic anti-virus software.
Small businesses rely on email as much as larger firms and the potential for a drop in production due to viruses and hacker attacks is ever increasing.
However, many experts believe the blame is targeted unfairly at the employee.
Jamie Cowper, senior technical consultant at Mirapoint, the security solutions provider, said: “Worms, viruses and spam are just a few of the threats SMEs must contend with.
“To a small business trying to survive and succeed on a tight budget, IT security can seem overwhelming and perhaps some are burying their heads in the sand.”
Cowper believes that even the simplest forms of online protection could save small businesses thousands: “A mix of press and vendor hype has over-complicated the issue of IT security and given the impression that effective prevention can only be guaranteed by spending large sums of cash and deploying a myriad of complex solutions.
“Cost effective, easy to manage protection against these threats is the name of the game and for this reason, an ‘appliance based’ approach to messaging and security, i.e. everything in the same box, is proving increasingly popular among companies of all sizes.” ®
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