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Symantec Survey Reveals More Than Half of Small and Midsized Businesses in Australia and New Zealand Experience Security Breache

Symantec Corp. (Nasdaq: SYMC) today released the Australian and New Zealand findings of its 2009 Global Small and Mid-sized Business (SMB) Security and Storage survey.
  • 12 May, 2009 10:07

<p>Survey Reveals Businesses Aware of Security Risks; Cite Lack of Employee Skills, Limited Budget and Time as Key Barriers to Securing Information</p>
<p>SYDNEY, Australia – May 12, 2009 – Symantec Corp. (Nasdaq: SYMC) today released the Australian and New Zealand findings of its 2009 Global Small and Mid-sized Business (SMB) Security and Storage survey. The survey revealed that more than half (58 percent) of SMB respondents in Australia and New Zealand experience security breaches–an instance where information has been subject to unauthorised access, often where the data is lost, stolen, or hacked.</p>
<p>According to the Symantec’s latest Internet Security Threat Report Volume XIV, malicious code activity continued to grow at a record pace throughout 2008, primarily targeting confidential information of computer users. In 2008 Symantec created more than 1.6 million new malicious code signatures equating to more than 60 percent of the total malicious code signatures ever created by Symantec. The report also noted that 90 percent of all threats detected by Symantec during 2008 attempted to steal confidential information.</p>
<p>“Small businesses in Australia and New Zealand need protection from a rapidly expanding and increasingly complex range of internal and external security threats,” said Craig Scroggie, vice president and managing director, Pacific region, Symantec. “The threat landscape continues to shift at an alarming pace and small businesses need to ensure they can confidently and simply manage these challenges. Through the adoption of security technology and education of security policies and processes, small businesses can reduce the number of security breaches, minimising the impact to their bottom line, brand and reputation.”</p>
<p>Security on the Agenda for SMBs
The importance of protecting email, information, networks, servers and desktops rated as the top goals for the survey respondents (mentioned as somewhat/extremely important by at least 76 percent). Viruses (68 percent) are identified as the top security worry for the survey respondents and more than 60 percent are somewhat or extremely concerned about phishing scams, spam, data breaches and the loss of confidential information via email or USB devices.</p>
<p>Despite the majority of survey respondents understanding the security risks they face, some are neglecting basic safeguards. For example, approximately two out of every five (43 percent) respondents have not implemented endpoint protection (software that protects “endpoints” such as laptops, desktops and servers against malware). Forty-three percent of SMBs do not have an antispam solution. Almost half (45 percent) do not backup their desktop PCs, leaving their important information at risk in the event of an incident. Finally, more than one-third (39 percent) of SMBs do not have antivirus protection.</p>
<p>Forty-six percent of SMBs don’t have dedicated IT staff--they either have no one managing their computers or they use staff that also have other jobs. In fact, the leading barrier to security cited by SMBs was a lack of employee skills (40 percent), lack of time (38 percent) and budget restrictions (37 percent). SMBs also mention a lack of awareness of current threats (31 percent) as another factor.</p>
<p>“While SMBs clearly appreciate the importance of security, they face many barriers when strengthening their IT security infrastructure,” said Steve Martin, SMB director, Pacific region, Symantec. “For many companies, the issue of strengthening their IT security infrastructure is compounded not only by the challenges of staffing, budget and time, but also by trying to keep up with the growing amount of information that now resides on mobile devices such as laptops, PDAs and Smartphones as well as external storage devices such as USB keys.”</p>
<p>Prevention is Better than Cure
According to the study, when SMBs do suffer IT data loss, it is likely to be in an area where basic protection and preventative measures would have alleviated the issue. The leading causes of loss reported by the survey respondents are system breakdown or hardware failure (69 percent); natural or onsite disasters (49 percent); human error (47 percent); and lost or stolen mobile devices (45 percent); deliberate sabotage by employees (39 percent) as well as out–of–date security solutions (38 percent) and improper security policies (37 percent).</p>
<p>Two-thirds of all small businesses who participated either password protected their desktops and laptops (66 percent); implemented comprehensive security solutions (66 percent); and/or prohibited the transfer of data to USB devices (64 percent) to prevent the occurrence of another security breach. Installing desktop and server backup solutions can also help small businesses to recover their information when many of these incidents occur.</p>
<p>Additional Key Findings</p>
<p>· Fifty-two percent of SMB respondents in Australia and New Zealand are planning to increase their IT security and storage spending in the next 12 months and 18 percent of the respondents are planning to have their IT security and storage spending budget remain the same.</p>
<p>· Findings on storage showed that 88 percent of SMBs in Australia and New Zealand are concerned about backup and recovery of data, followed by disaster recovery planning and strategy (85 percent), and archiving data and emails (80 percent).</p>
<p>· While only 45 percent of the SMB respondents deploy desktop backup and recovery solutions, some three in five of these respondents perform backup on a daily or more frequent basis. The most common types of backup are disk at 69 percent and tape at 57 percent.</p>
<p>Recommendations for Small Businesses
Symantec encourages businesses to employ defense-in-depth technology including antivirus, antispam, and firewall technology to protect their information. Multiple layers of protection ensure SMBs are accurately identifying and addressing risks and providing consistent protection. SMBs should also ensure that security patches are up-to-date and applied to all vulnerable applications in a timely manner.</p>
<p>Symantec Protection Suite Small Business Edition is an easy-to-use suite that protects critical business assets by offering security against today’s malware and spam threats and by having the capability to rapidly recover client computer systems. The solution combines advanced security, antispam and mail security software together with backup and recovery. This all-inclusive, easy-to-use suite potentially provides complete protection and fast performance, enabling small businesses to save valuable time and money with a suite that requires little administration to install, deploy and manage. By combining security with backup and recovery, Symantec is enabling SMBs to completely protect, easily manage and automatically control their valuable assets.</p>
<p>About Symantec 2009 Global SMB Security and Storage Survey</p>
<p>Symantec 2009 Global SMB Security and Storage Survey drew responses from 1,425 small and medium businesses in 17 countries with 100 responses from Australia (50) and New Zealand (50). Respondents were from a wide range of industries, including financial services, telecommunications, manufacturing and retail. The size of companies of respondents ranged from 10 to 500 employees. The survey was conducted in February 2009 by Applied Research. Worldwide the survey has a 95 percent confidence level with a margin of error of 2.6 percent.</p>
<p>About Symantec</p>
<p>Symantec is a global leader in providing security, storage and systems management solutions to help consumers and organisations secure and manage their information-driven world. Our software and services protect against more risks at more points, more completely and efficiently, enabling confidence wherever information is used or stored. More information is available at</p>
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<p>Press Contacts:</p>
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