SMBs reluctant to open wallets for IT security

Australian small-to-medium businesses aren't committing IT dollars to security, according to a survey conducted on behalf of Symantec. More than 64 percent of the companies surveyed revealed they spend less than 10 percent of their IT budget on security.

Australian small-to-medium businesses aren't committing IT dollars to security, according to a survey conducted on behalf of Symantec. More than 64 percent of the companies surveyed revealed they spend less than 10 percent of their IT budget on security.

The survey showed that the most popular reason for SMBs not having a "more robust" IT security platform was that it was "not a priority" (29 percent), 25 percent said that a lack of time prevented them from having additional security and 20 percent blamed budget restraints.

Managing director of Symantec, John Donavan, said budgets restraints and lack of expertise are putting small businesses at risk.

"With limited resources and smaller budgets than larger organisations, small businesses can be particularly vulnerable to Internet threats and often lack the appropriate protection," said Donovan.

Despite the lack of monetary commitment to IT security, the survey showed that 95 percent of the responding SMBs have antivirus software installed, 64 percent reported as using firewall software and 43 percent used spam filters.

"The results reveal a high level of technology adoption and sophistication among Australian small business with 66 percent providing Internet access to all staff and an average of 86 percent using notebooks," said Donovan.

The results showed that 61 percent of responding SMBs have experienced a virus attack.

The top four IT concerns amongst SMBs were viruses (21 percent), security (13 percent), Internet speed (13 percent) and spam filtering (12 percent).

However, 57 percent of the respondents said they have deployed a spam filter and reported receiving over 90 spam related emails a day.

The survey was conducted by Bread and Butter research to co-inside with the release of Symantec's new Gateway Security 300 series products.

Research was conducted from interviews with over 200 small businesses in Australia throughout manufacturing, legal, accounting, construction, education and advertising sectors.

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