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Common cyber security blunders threaten SMEs

Small business owners are predominantly focused on major breaches to their business data, unaware that the real threats to their cyber security occur on a more micro scale, according to recent research undertaken by Servcorp.
With an increasing number of business activities moving online, more businesses are finding themselves burdened with financial losses, damaged reputations and serious threats to their customers’ data that result from common cyber security compromises.
Alarmingly, 77% of small business owners whom consider technology to be critical to their business have done things that could compromise the security of their IT system, exposing themselves and their customers to costly consequences.
The study also revealed businesses employing five or more staff members were found to be much more likely to have been affected by a virus (60%) than those that do not employ additional staff members (29%).
Small business owners perceive the greatest threats to their business data and email to be viruses (78%), malware (63%) and spyware (51%), however, two thirds of SMEs (66%) have unknowingly exposed themselves a data breach; compromising the security of their IT systems, customer data and databases.
Despite one in three small business owners (36%) referencing technology as critical to their operations, they admitted to the following:
• Downloading files from a USB stick (49%)
• Using the same password for multiple internet sites (39%)
• Opening an attachment in an email from an unknown source (11%)
“These findings reinforce the need for business owners to ensure that their facilities and associated IT services are managed and operated in a secure manner. Data security is easy to overlook, especially when business owners’ first priority is generally sales and business management,” Liane Gorman, Servcorp General Manager ANZ said.
“Data security and compliance are vital to the management of any business. If you are a business you need to ensure your infrastructure has sufficient measures in place to protect information and IT systems, provide secure access to internet services and maintain the security of the workspace.
“For our clients, it’s part of the reason they look to a serviced office solution – it offers surety, security and stability in their operations. It Is not enough for workplaces to simply rely on a secure internet connection or refer to a procedure document when they employ staff. Especially in lieu of the recent changes to the Notifiable Data Breach laws.”