Confronting IT security's challenges

More than half of Singapore SMBs see the need to protect customer data and combat cyber threats, survey shows.

Security tops the list of tech priorities among Singapore small and midsize businesses, with more than 50 percent indicating that their security budgets will increase over the next 12 months, new research shows.

The findings of ZDNet Asia's SMB IT Priorities 2006/07 Survey come as little surprise, considering the growing incidence of cyber threats such as spyware, viruses and phishing scams.

According to Graeme Philipson, an independent consultant commissioned by ZDNet Asia to compile and analyze the survey data, "more people are predicting their security budget will go up next year compared to those who predict will go down".

Forty-six percent of those polled said their security budgets will increase slightly, while almost 12 percent expect budgets to increase significantly.

In contrast, 6 percent indicated that their security spending will decrease over the next 12 months.

Reasons behind the budget increases include the need to protect important business data and combat spam, spyware and viruses.

Security spending over the next 12 months

 
Respondents who predicted that security spending will remain unchanged cited several wide-ranging reasons. Some felt that security measures were "more or less in place", while others saw "no reason to change", said Philipson.

Must protect customer data
The biggest security concern of SMBs in Singapore is the risk of losing customer data, the survey revealed.

Level of concern about potential security threats

 
This underscores the growing concerns of businesses, particularly after reports of how even large companies like HP, Marriott, MasterCard International and Bank of America are not immune from data and security risks.

Other security concerns include viruses and computer worms, hacking attacks and misconduct involving third parties. When asked about their security initiatives, respondents gave varying answers which include encrypting PC users' data, ensuring better protection against viruses, upgrading network security, and focusing on IT governance and security compliance.

ZDNet Asia SMB IT Priorities 2006/07 survey was conducted online between March and May 2006. The survey drew 134 respondents, of which 63 percent were from Singapore--across all industry sectors. The majority worked in companies with fewer than 100 employees.

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