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Small & Mid-Sized Enterprises Living in La-La Land, Study Says

Many smaller firms kid themselves that they're too little to be targets, McAfee study says

Many small and medium-sized businesses are living under the false impression that they are too little to worry about security, a new study says.

According to a survey of IT decision-makers in enterprises with 1,000 to 2,000 employees, which was published earlier this week by security vendor McAfee, there are some serious misperceptions about security among smaller companies.

For example, 44 percent of these small and mid-sized enterprises think cybercrime is only an issue for larger organizations and believe it does not affect them, McAfee says. 52 percent believe that because they are not well known, cybercriminals will not specifically target them.

Almost half (45 percent) of the enterprises surveyed do not think they are a "valuable target" for cybercriminals. Forty-six percent do not think they can be a source of profit for cybercriminals.

Eighty-eight percent of respondents believed they were "adequately protected" against security threats. But 43 percent of them admitted that they simply accept the default settings on their IT equipment.

Perhaps more importantly, small and mid-sized companies feel they cannot afford to devote many resources to security. Almost half of the companies surveyed (42 percent) dedicate just one hour a week to proactive IT security management, despite the fact that almost one in five (21 percent) acknowledged that an attack could put them out of business.

A third (32 percent) of small and medium businesses in the United States and Canada have been attacked more than four times by cybercriminals in the last three years. A quarter of those attacked (26 percent) took at least a week to recover.

— Tim Wilson, Site Editor, Dark Reading