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Virus Attacks Lead List of Small Business Tech Concerns


Viruses, Trojans, data-stealing malware and data leaks were rated as big IT concerns for small businesses, according to a recent survey.

On average, 63 percent of small businesses expressed the most concern about viruses, 60 percent about Trojans, 59 percent about data-stealing malware (malware designed by cybercriminals specifically to steal data) and 56 percent about data leaks (the intentional or unintentional sending of sensitive or crucial information outside the corporate network), according to Trend Micro’s 2010 survey of 1,600 corporate users in the U.S., U.K., Germany and Japan. Small businesses were least concerned about phishing scams and spam, according to the survey.

“What this tells us is that data loss, either through internal data leaks or malware, is a serious issue for small businesses, especially as they become more aware of their attractiveness to cybercriminals ,” David Perry, Trend Micro's global director of education, said in a statement. “It would not be surprising to see data-stealing malware and data leaks pushed up to number one and two on this list in the next few years.”

However, despite these concerns, small organizations in those countries are 23 percent less likely than large companies to have preventative data leak policies in place, according to the survey.

In Japan, 81 percent of large companies have data leak prevention policies in place, compared with only 47 percent of small businesses , according to the survey. And employees in large companies with preventive data leak policies in place are also significantly more likely to have received training on data leak prevention than those in small companies.

Additionally, 74 percent of employees in large U.S. companies are significantly more likely to cite data leaks as serious threats, compared with 49 percent of employees working in small companies, according to the survey. In the U.K., 73 percent of employees from large companies say they are aware of confidential information, compared with 63 percent from small companies.

The survey found that the most companies have installed security software, restricted Internet access and implemented security policies to protect their data. But 21 percent of small business employees still say that their IT departments can do a better job of protecting them from the potential risks associated with data-stealing malware.  And 35 percent of employees in small companies indicated their IT departments could do a better job educating them about data-stealing malware, according to the survey.