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SMBs Say Education Key to Better Security

RALEIGH, N.C. -- A new survey shows that nearly half of small companies in the United States believe that employees with a better knowledge of security issues and the part they play in a company’s IT set-up would help to improve network security, while one in four say that even management should be more aware of security issues and threats.

The survey of 455 IT executives at small and medium sized businesses in the United States found that 48 percent said that awareness on security issues among employees – the “weakest link” – was a key factor that could lead to better overall security.

The research was carried out by polling company eMediaUSA on behalf of GFI Software, an international developer of network security, content security, and messaging software. The survey also found that employees are not the only people who need to be “educated.” One in four IT executives want senior management to have a better understanding of security issues as this could have a bearing on the overall level of network security, and possibly, the range of security measures that could be implemented. Only 10 percent of SMBs said they would need more human resources, while 12 percent said network security would improve if they had larger budgets.

The survey shows that four in 10 SMBs feel their networks were not secure enough, with email viruses named as the biggest security threat. When asked about their major daily concerns, 71 percent of respondents cited downtime and tackling security issues, while 51 percent said user support was a daily concern.

According to Andre Muscat, director of engineering at GFI Software, these results highlight the growing affect that employees could have on a company’s security, “Computer users can be considered the least predictable and controlled security vulnerability. In the majority of cases, a lack of education and an understanding of basic security principles and procedures are the main causes of security breaches rather than malicious activity – although the latter can never be ignored. And it takes so little for a security breach to occur.”

GFI Software Ltd.