UpFront Hacking business margins

The constant need to empty potentially nasty junk from email in-boxes is just the tip of an increasingly virulent IT iceberg that is affecting business.
A recent survey carried out by the Employers and Manufacturers Association (EMA) for information security firm Symantec found 63 percent of small businesses in New Zealand have been hit by malicious online attack. Respondents cited internet security and virus protection as their most common IT concern followed by the cost of licences, upgrades and hardware.
Given that virus writers and hackers are becoming both more prolific and more sophisticated, such concerns are not surprising, says Symantec’s NZ manager Richard Batchelar.
“With limited resources and smaller budgets than larger organisations, small businesses can be particularly vulnerable – and often lack appropriate defences.”
Of the 207 survey respondents, only 17 percent have anti-virus software installed and just over third have some form of firewall protection. Many appear to rely solely on their ISP (Internet Service Provider) for protection.
Time wasted dealing with spam was the third most-cited issue affecting small businesses, with 31 percent employing some form of filtering technology.
Although small businesses have limited IT budgets, EMA chief executive Alisdair Thompson warns that the risk of falling victim to malicious online attack and associated financial losses is now too high to ignore.
“It’s reassuring to see that small businesses in New Zealand are concerned about internet security, but there is plenty of room for them to do more to protect themselves against increasing threats.”

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