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Small Businesses Falling Short In IT, Security

New study says SMBs can't keep up with IT in tough economic times

Times are hard for small businesses -- but they might be even harder if you're responsible for IT and security in a small business, according to a new study published yesterday.

According to the IT Effectiveness Index, a midyear report issued this week, small and midsize businesses (SMBs) are falling further behind in IT as the economy worsens.

Nearly one in four SMBs received a "failing grade" in IT effectiveness, the study says. This failure can be seen in a lack of security, a high level of downtime, and the absence of disaster recovery programs, the ITEI says. About 37 percent of SMBs received a "C" grade, which indicates they are just barely getting by.

Only 30 percent have a fully implemented security program, according to the study. Just 42 percent said they're fully compliant with relevant governmental regulations and policies, such as HIPAA and PCI. Only 26 percent have a fully implemented disaster recovery/continuity plan.

Many SMBs are falling behind because of budget issues, which force them to make do with fewer staff, cancel and/or put IT projects on hold, and slash capital expenditures in their IT budgets, the report says. About one-third of respondents said they are too short-staffed to effectively manage their IT programs.

The report, which is sponsored in part by IT service providers, suggests that SMBs should outsource their IT and security capabilities and focus less on do-it-yourself strategies that require capital expenditure.

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Tim Wilson is Editor in Chief and co-founder of Dark Reading.com, UBM Tech's online community for information security professionals. He is responsible for managing the site, assigning and editing content, and writing breaking news stories. Wilson has been recognized as one ... View Full Bio

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