Further research shows that SMEs are failing to address IT security

Employee surfing policies, particularly those regarding social networks, are often inadequate
Kerry Butters

October 12, 2011

GFI Software have announced the findings of a new study which shows that 40% of SMEs don’t have adequate security measures in place.

Furthermore, nearly one-third don’t have any policies that address the personal use of social networking sites in the workplace.

The survey was carried out by Opinion Matters between 29th September and 4th October this year and was commissioned for GFI to “understand the web monitoring and web filtering practices of SMBs.”

The results showed that 2 in 5 companies have been the victim of some kind of security breach, due to employees visiting inappropriate sites such as web pages that have malware embedded or infected downloads.

The results also show that whilst some businesses do employ web filtering software, they do so mainly to ensure employees are productive, rather than for security reasons.

11.5% of all companies asked said that they don’t use any form of monitoring or filtering software at all, and 70% of those claim that web usage isn’t a problem in their organisation.

Whilst some companies do have a policy in place to address employee usage of social networking, most of them have no way of enforcing it, as they have no monitoring software.

Almost half of the respondents said that they didn’t have any software in place that would check links for malicious websites, but 27% expressed an interest in putting this in place.

“The survey results indicate a lack of awareness about the full capabilities of web monitoring software and how these solutions are evolving into critical components of effective SMB network security practices,” said Phil Bousfield, general manager, Infrastructure Business Unit, GFI Software.

“Protecting the network from malicious websites and downloads should be a top priority for IT managers in addition to concerns over employee productivity and bandwidth management.”

“Web monitoring solutions that equip IT administrators with an additional layer of network defence against online threats and provide employees with the tools they need to make better, safer decisions while online go a long way in helping SMBs balance the benefits of Internet access with the risks it creates.”

As we reported earlier this week, social media especially is contributing to putting organisations at risk as their popularity continues to grow.

It is becoming essential for businesses of all sizes, in both the public and private sectors, to ensure that they have policies and safeguards in place.

As the threat from cybercrime continues to grow across the board, it is even more important for firms to address the security needs of their company.

This is especially important as other research recently found that many employees who are in charge of IT believe that their company will go under in the event of a major cyberattack.

Furthermore, compliance with privacy and data protection laws may mean that companies are putting themselves further at risk from prosecution, or their client’s data at risk from theft.


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