A Symantec and National Cyber Security Alliance-sponsored survey found that a majority of small business owners believe Internet security is critical for success and that their companies are safe from cyber threats, despite many of them failing to take fundamental precautions.
The survey, conducted by Zogby International, found that nearly two-thirds of U.S. small businesses are more dependent on the Internet than last year and 57 percent of firms indicated that loss of Internet for up to 48 hours would disrupt business.
While 85 percent of small business owners believe their company is secure, a closer look suggests a lack of sufficient cybersecurity measures. About 77 percent of respondents indicated they have no formal written web security policy and 49 percent said they do not have an informal policy, according to the survey.
As a majority of businesses have no Internet usage policy or a plan for keeping business secure, it was proposed that small businesses may not understand how to respond to online threats. Some 40 percent said if their business were subject to a data breach or compromised information, they would not have a response plan in place to protect them.
Symantec data indicated that 40 percent of targeted cyber attacks target companies with less than 500 employees. Additionally, a Norton cyber crime report found that the total cost of cyber crime to consumers and small business owners alike, is greater than $114 billion annually
“We recognize that most small business owners are focused on running their businesses, and have limited resources and IT staff dedicated to managing their cyber security needs. Unfortunately, cyber criminals are increasingly making small businesses their targets, knowing they are likely to have fewer safeguards in place to protect themselves,” said Cheri McGuire, vice president of global government affairs and cybersecurity policy at Symantec.
“It’s important for small businesses to educate their employees on the latest threats and what they can do to combat them,’ she added. “Education combined with investment in reliable security solutions, provides small business owners with a well-rounded approach to protecting their businesses and managing cyber risk.”