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Small Businesses May Not Be Security's Weak Link

Organizations with 250 or fewer employees often employ a higher percentage of security pros than their larger counterparts.

Small businesses often have a bad reputation for being the gateway to supply-chain attacks on larger enterprises. But this may not be the case, as seen in a new report on small-business security.

As part of (ISC)²'s "Securing the Partner Ecosystem" study, researchers surveyed 700-plus people from small and large organizations to learn views on data-sharing risk. Half of large businesses view third-party partners of all sizes as a security risk, but only 14% have suffered a breach from working with a small partner. Meanwhile, 17% were breached as the result of working with a larger partner.

In fact, 94% of large enterprises are "confident" or "very confident" in small-business partners' security practices, with 95% having a process for vetting security capabilities. Nearly two-thirds of large firms outsource 26% of their daily business tasks to third parties, which requires data sharing. Here, researchers found access management and vulnerability mitigation are often overlooked.

How so? For starters, 34% of large enterprises say they have been surprised by the broad level of access a third-party partner had been given to their networks and data. Nearly 40% of small businesses had been surprised by the access granted when providing services to large partners.

More than half (54%) of small businesses expressed surprise at some large clients' insufficient security practices; 53% have notified clients of vulnerabilities found in larger networks. Fifty-five percent of small businesses said they continued to have access to a client's network or data after a project was completed. What's more concerning, 35% of large organizations admitted when a third party alerted them to insecure data access policies, their practices didn't change.

Read the release here and full report here.  

 

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Robert Lemos, Contributing Writer, Dark Reading
Robert Lemos, Contributing Writer, Dark Reading
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Jai Vijayan, Contributing Writer, Dark Reading