Reseller News

Symantec: more SMEs need IT recovery plan

Survey also finds human error, slack IT policies a security risk.

Forty nine percent of SME respondents have no plan on how to recover from an IT outage according to the latest Symantec SME survey. This is despite more than 60 percent of respondents experiencing an IT outage in the past 12 months and 32 percent expect they will experience a computer systems failure in the next year.

The survey was conducted by Maclean Computing, the New Zealand Employers and Manufacturers’ Association and Symantec. Approximately 200 IT managers in SMEs that had one to 500 employees responded.

It found that 62 percent of those surveyed have experienced a power failure in the past 12 months while 37 percent have experienced a computer systems failure. Almost half of all respondents (48 percent) expect another power failure in the next 12 months but only 23 percent are confident that their information is protected should a power failure occur.

“The survey highlights that local businesses are protecting their information against known cyber threats by deploying security offerings and patching their computers and applications regularly. However, the survey also shows that businesses aren’t taking basic precautions against the most obvious risks often caused by human error and poor IT policies,” says Pacific small and midsized business director Steve Martin,

For example 36 percent of respondents do not or rarely backup information stored on laptops and 22 percent of respondents have accidentally lost a laptop or smart phone.

Twenty nine percent of respondents have employees who are accidentally deleting information and 19 percent of respondents have emailed information to the wrong person, while only 10 percent of the respondents are encrypting confidential information in emails.

“All these threats are preventable by deploying the appropriate technology, educating staff and developing and documenting the policies and procedures that minimise the risk of critical data loss and ensure that in the event of a disaster the information is easily recoverable,” adds Martin

The survey also found that 35 percent of respondents anticipate their IT budgets will increase in the next 12 months while 56 percent expect they will stay the same. Only 9 percent expect their IT budgets to decrease.

Maclean Computing CEO Chris Maclean says local SMEs could use those budgets for disaster recovery.

“For most of the SMEs surveyed, their business is reliant on information. If you’re not protecting your most critical business asset then you’re not using that IT budget wisely."