Symantec Guide Helps Small Businesses Understand and Manage IT Security

MAIDENHEAD, England – September 7th, 2004 – Symantec, the world leader in information security today announced the availability of a free booklet to help small businesses in the UK overcome concerns or fears surrounding the protection of their business and customer information. The in-depth guide, entitled “IT security for small businesses’, outlines the risks that many small businesses face and advises on how these can be addressed cost-effectively and with minimum disruption.

Copies of the free guide are available by visiting: http://www.symantec.co.uk/smallbusinessbook where companies can either download an electronic copy or order the print version by email for delivery later this month.

The launch follows a survey commissioned by Symantec earlier this year, looking at the attitudes of UK small businesses towards the subject of security. This revealed that less than a quarter of small and medium-sized businesses saw the threat of someone stealing confidential company information as a primary concern, even though over half (54 per cent) later admitted that the theft or loss of customer or supplier data would have “extreme impact’ on their business. Nearly two-thirds (61 per cent) saw the threat of viruses as their number one worry, while less than 10 per cent were concerned with making sure that the use and storage of customer and company data complied with government and industry regulations and legislation.

Although around 80 per cent of the businesses surveyed believe they have enough solutions in place to secure their business and keep data safe, the research suggests that SMEs are addressing only basic security needs and are becoming increasingly overwhelmed and confused by Internet security in general.

“There’s no doubt that security is becoming more complicated, with simple viruses disappearing and being replaced by more complex and much more damaging so-called “blended threats’. These use multiple methods to spread – email, holes in software, spam, or the simple act of downloading something off the Internet,” explains Lee Sharrocks, small business manager at Symantec. “Unfortunately antivirus software is no longer enough to stop them. It’s hard enough for big businesses to keep up, let alone smaller companies that are unlikely to have the expertise or the resources in-house to handle these problems.

“In addition to managing the threats facing their businesses, small business owners need to understand the regulations and legislation surrounding the security of private data. Keeping data secure is about more than just technology.

“By producing this practical guide, we are addressing concerns from an early stage, providing a very clear outline of what needs to be addressed and how to do it. SMEs are the backbone of British industry and central to our economy, so protecting them means protecting British business!”

The launch of the new guide has been welcomed by Peter Scargill, National IT Chairman of the Federation of Small Business, who said: “We regularly hear from members who are struggling with security – they know it’s important, but there is so much for them to get to grips with and this is a particular challenge for those who have no resource dedicated to security or even to IT. Companies need simple and up to date guidance that pulls together all of the security information a small business might need into one place, helping them to really understand and respond effectively to the increasingly complex but absolutely vital demands of internet security.”

The booklet also supports a call earlier this year by the parliament-industry group EURIM and political think-tank IPPR, for the launch of a “Green Cross Code Advisory’ for SMEs. A report by the group was published in February to help raise awareness of security issues faced by small businesses and encourage the government to help them fight cybercrime. In particular, it highlighted that “those who use computers and the Internet without adequate security are not only a danger to themselves, they can also be a danger to the rest of an increasingly interconnected world’.

Philip Virgo, secretary general of EURIM, added: “We are delighted to see Symantec taking such effective actions on our recommendations earlier this year. It is essential to provide advice, guidance and solutions that are fit for use by the overworked small business, with little or no ICT expertise and even less time. It is not just that firms with under 50 staff employ 40 per cent of the private sector workforce and are often key to the health and wealth of much larger organisations, but their always-on systems are also a major point of vulnerability, potentially affecting millions of other Internet users.”

About Symantec
Symantec is the global leader in information security providing a broad range of software, appliances and services designed to help individuals, small and mid-sized businesses, and large enterprises secure and manage their IT infrastructure. Symantec’s Norton brand of products is the worldwide leader in consumer security and problem-solving solutions. Headquartered in Cupertino, Calif., Symantec has operations in more than 35 countries. More information is available at http://www.symantec.com.




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