Opportunity for channel as information protection moves up the SMB agenda

Independent research conducted by Applied Research on behalf of Symantec has discovered that Small to Medium sized Businesses (SMBs) are finally taking steps to make protecting information their highest priority. This represents a significant improvement over the findings of Symantec’s 2009 SMB research, which showed that a high percentage of firms were failing to enact even basic safeguards on their information.

Symantec’s 2010 SMB Information Protection Survey, which surveyed businesses employing between 10 and 499 people across EMEA, points to a significant opportunity for the channel. The survey revealed that the median spend on information protection is £14,600 (€17,593) annually and that 67 per cent of businesses consider data loss to be an important risk to their organisation with 60 per cent saying the same for cyber attacks.

The research discovered that each year, SMBs lose an average of nearly £202,000 (€241,632) to cyber attacks, including factors such as downtime, theft of data and productivity. These attacks are also very prevalent, with 77 per cent of businesses saying they had been affected in the last year, and 26 per cent admitting that they were ‘somewhat’ or ‘extremely’ affected. All businesses in EMEA that fell victim to cyber attack said they had suffered some form of loss.

When questioned on their experience of data loss, 47 per cent of SMBs said they had lost confidential data in the past. Interestingly, the biggest percentage of loss came from deliberate theft (52 per cent) as opposed to accidental data loss. Of this figure, 24 per cent was attributed to people outside the organisation. Insiders were found to account for 16 per cent of illegal data loss, with loss through partners at 15 per cent.

Commenting on the findings, Ross Walker, Director of Small Business UK & Ireland said: “It is encouraging to see businesses working towards making the protection of information a top priority. It’s not surprising considering the heavy losses SMBs are suffering. There is a major opportunity for the channel to assist SMBs in their drive to tighten this area and a range of solutions and consultancy that the channel can provide.”

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