Viruses Lead SMB Security Concerns

Malware tops employee-generated data breaches among security concerns of small and midsize business, finds Trend Micro survey.

Mathew J. Schwartz, Contributor

November 4, 2010

2 Min Read

Strategic Security Survey: Global Threat, Local Pain

Strategic Security Survey: Global Threat, Local Pain

Strategic Security Survey: Global Threat, Local Pain (click image for larger view and for full slideshow)

When it comes to information security concerns, small businesses still fear the virus. Indeed, according to a new survey of 1,600 end users in Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom, and United States, conducted by antivirus vendor Trend Micro, viruses are the leading concern for 63% of small businesses.

Small business respondents' other top concerns were Trojan applications (60%), malware designed by criminals expressly to steal data (59%), data leaks (56%), spyware (55%), and fake AV (52%). Spam and phishing threats ranked lowest.

Most of today's antivirus software suites protect against many viruses and worms. But when it comes to data-stealing malware, 21% of small U.S. business respondents said that their IT department could do a better job of protecting end users. Notably, only 47% of small businesses install security software to help stop such malware, 30% offer related security policies, and 28% provide relevant education or guidance.

Another interesting finding is that, compared with midsize or large organizations, the typical small business in the United States tends to be less worried about data loss. While 74% of respondents at large U.S. enterprises ranked data loss as a top threat, only 49% of small U.S. businesses said the same. Also 22% of respondents at large organizations in the United States think their employees have actually leaked data, versus 10% at small organizations.

In general, of course, small businesses have fewer security controls or policies in place, owing to a paucity of investment in information security technology, awareness, or talent. That may explain small businesses' approach to data-leak prevention. While small businesses are worried about data leaks -- more than spyware -- only 44% of them have data-leak security policies in place, compared with 61% of large enterprises.

Interestingly, however, the odds of actually being trained on a data-leak policy -- if it exists -- were about the same, with 70% of respondents at large organizations, compared with 61% at small ones, saying they received such training.

About the Author(s)

Mathew J. Schwartz


Mathew Schwartz served as the InformationWeek information security reporter from 2010 until mid-2014.

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