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Survey Reveals Security Threats Remain Prevalent in Small to Medium Businesses in Pacific Region

  • 17 May, 2007 13:42

<p>SYDNEY, Australia. – May 17, 2007 – Symantec Corp. (Nasdaq: SYMC) today announced the findings of a survey into the Internet security and storage habits of small to medium businesses (SMBs) in Australia and New Zealand. The survey found SMBs are improving the way they protect and store their information by developing Internet security policies, automatic security updates and backing up regularly; however, they are still impacted by Internet security threats and spam.</p>
<p>A majority of respondents, 79 percent in Australia and 80 percent in New Zealand, indicated the key driver for securing and storing information is the risk of losing valuable data. Business compliance is also a factor for 20 percent of Australian companies and 16 percent of companies in New Zealand. On the other hand, SMBs cited budget, time, IT priorities and lack of expertise as being the biggest barriers to implementing security and storage solutions.</p>
<p>Securing Information</p>
<p>The survey found 51 percent of Australian businesses and 44 percent of New Zealand businesses were affected by an Internet security threat such as a computer virus and the majority of companies have an Internet security policy in place (77 percent in Australia and 75 percent in New Zealand).</p>
<p>The survey also determined there is no single hindrance to implementing or upgrading Internet security across all businesses; however, limited budget, lack of time, higher priorities and lack of expertise are key recurring factors among SMBs in both countries.</p>
<p>When asked how often they update their security software, 86 percent of respondents perform updates at least weekly, with 63 percent of these being automatic updates.</p>
<p>Dealing with Spam</p>
<p>Further findings from the research show 75 percent of SMBs in Australia use a spam filtering solution, up from 43 percent in 2004. Around 28 percent of emails received are ’junk mail’ with 26 percent of respondents in Australia saying they have been impacted by a phishing scam.</p>
<p>“SMBs need to be particularly aware of the online threats to their organisations and the tools necessary to protect them, to ensure consistent, uninterrupted running of their businesses and to avoid potential disaster,” said Steve Martin, manager, mid-market, Australia and New Zealand at Symantec. “It is reassuring to see SMBs are taking steps to protect their information. With significant increases in spam, phishing, bot networks, Trojans and zero-day threats in the last year, it is vital that SMBs take a holistic approach to security to help in combating these threats and reduce their downtime.”</p>
<p>Backup and Recovery</p>
<p>The research shows that SMBs are aware of the issues surrounding backup and recovery of critical business information, with 90 percent of Australian SMBs surveyed backing up weekly or more frequently, and more than 50 percent doing it daily. The biggest hindrance to implementing or upgrading backup and recovery solutions in both countries is budget.</p>
<p>“The results indicate that SMBs are taking seriously the threats to their critical business information and backing it up on a regular basis. With 40 percent of Australian respondents and 36 percent of New Zealand respondents saying they use their backups to retrieve information at least once a month, a reliable, trustworthy solution is crucial to any business,” said Martin.</p>
<p>Additional Key Findings:</p>
<p>* The survey found SMBs are investing in technology solutions, with last year’s IT spend peaking at AUD$20,000-$50,000 in both Australia and New Zealand, but average spend in Australia was AUD$130,000 - significantly higher than New Zealand, which was NZ$91,000.
* According to the results, IT decision-making appears to be shared between two or more employees, and is one of several roles they fill. Specialist IT professionals are in the minority.
* Results found that in both countries’ spend is marginally higher on storage (57 percent in Australia, 56 percent in New Zealand) than on security solutions (43 percent in Australia, 44 percent in New Zealand).
* Windows XP is the most common operating system used by SMBs surveyed in Australia and New Zealand.
* Survey results indicated that most SMBs have a number of Internet security and backup and recovery solutions installed, with antivirus and firewall software being the most common.</p>
<p>Best Practices</p>
<p>To create a more protected business environment, Symantec recommends that SMBs establish recovery plans so that the business is not interrupted even in a disaster; back up data regularly; be familiar with and update comprehensive security solutions, implement back up and recovery solutions; and apply patches regularly to protect the organisation against any present and future threats on the Web.</p>
<p>The research was commissioned by Symantec and conducted in April 2007 by Bread and Butter Research. Approximately 400 IT decision makers in small to medium businesses that had five to 200 employees in Australia and New Zealand were surveyed. The average financial turnover of these organisations for the last financial year was AUD$1.7 million and NZ$1.5 million in Australia and New Zealand respectively.</p>
<p>About Symantec</p>
<p>Symantec is a global leader in infrastructure software, enabling businesses and consumers to have confidence in a connected world. The company helps customers protect their infrastructure, information, and interactions by delivering software and services that address risks to security, availability, compliance, and performance. Headquartered in Cupertino, Calif., Symantec has operations in 40 countries. More information is available at <http:></http:> .</p>
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<p>Media Contact:</p>
<p>Debbie Sassine
+61 2 8879 1110</p>
<p>Angela Coombes
Max Australia
+61 2 9954 3492</p>

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