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Twitter chat: Why SMEs must protect themselves online

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The Twitter chat, held with Jay Epton, head of SMB at Symantec, focused on security issues for small businesses.

Half of SMEs believe that as they’re a small business, they’re not a target for cyber attacks. But research from Symantec shows that 18 per cent of targeted attacks last year were aimed at SMEs. 

Symantec recently released its Internet Security Threat Report, which highlights the issue. Some key facts from the report:

  • Symantec blocked a total of over 5.5 billion malware attacks in 2011, an 81 per cent increase over 2010.
  • Web-based attacks increased by 36 per cent with over 4,500 new attacks each day.
  • Fifty per cent of targeted attacks were aimed at companies with fewer than 2,500 employees; and just 42 per cent of targeted attacks were aimed at CEOs or senior managers.

As a result, this isn’t an issue that business owners can ignore – you need to be conscious of the potential threats from both outside and within the business. What can you do?

Epton offered three main tips for SME owners:

  1. Educate your workforce. Develop guidelines for staff about web safety, security and the latest threats. Regularly change passwords and protect mobile devices. 
  2. Regularly assess your security risks. Know what you need to protect and address those gaps.  
  3. Take action. Be proactive and develop a security and recovery plan. Consider items such as password policies, device security, email and web asset security and encryption.

Cyber security may not be a “sexy” topic for business owners, but it isn’t one that you can afford to ignore. Find out more information on the Symantec SMB blog.

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