More than half (52 percent) of small and medium-size businesses in the United States and the United Kingdom have no IT security guidelines for their staffs, leaving them at the mercy of what employees decide to download or access online, according to a recent survey by security firm AVG Technologies.
And one in seven of the 2,000 SMBs (less than 100 employees) surveyed in the U.S. and the U.K. have no Internet security software or solutions in place at all, according to AVG’s SMB Landscape Report. As a result, one in four SMBs has experienced a security breach, according to the survey.
The research indicates that although most small businesses understand the need to protect their IT systems, few are willing to put security policies into practice, according to AVG.
“As a result, we think it is even more important for small businesses to put the right security measures in place, or else risk losing out to competitors when things go wrong,” AVG noted.
In general, the report indicates that:
- SMBs are successfully emerging from the recent economic downturn and are positive about the future.
- SMBs have responded to the challenge of economic recession through innovation, adopting new technologies and processes to ensure their businesses are lean. More than two out of three businesses (61 percent of U.K. SMBs and 74 percent of U.S. SMBs) expect to expand in the next five years.
- Although technology is critical to the business, SMBs don’t have the expertise to manage it.
- More than three-quarters of SMBs feel IT is critical to their businesses and more than two out of three see it as a main factor for driving business success. However, only 39 percent have highly skilled IT employees and more than half have no access to IT expertise.
- SMBs are ready to deploy new technologies and move into the cloud. Currently, one in seven businesses use hosted services, but 67 percent of the SMBs surveyed said they are considering using cloud services in the future.
Other security findings include:
- Seventy-seven percent of SMBs know that a security breach could have a significant negative effect on their businesses and 83 percent acknowledge that having the right level of protection is critical to their businesses.
- Peace of mind, performance and reassurance are the top priorities for SMBs considering implementing security solutions. The vast majority of SMBs (88 percent) also want a trusted provider to deliver their security solutions.
- Fifty-five percent of SMBs indicated they can make IT security decisions in-house without the help of a third party.