Gartner says smaller companies particularly lack the security expertise necessary to fend off computer attackers. Its research suggests that, without taking immediate steps to remedy the situation, fifty percent of these businesses will be the victim of a successful hack or a damaging virus outbreak in the next couple of years.
It also suggests that as much as sixty percent of companies may not realize that their defenses have been breached until serious damage has been done.
More business, more risk
The research paints a gloomy image for small to medium enterprises and a lawless picture of computer trends. A growing amount of evidence suggests that potentially damaging computer attacks have become an inevitable hazard for modern businesses. This is reflected in the fact that a number of corporate insurance policies now include malicious hacking as a potential cause of damage.
As well as employing all the usual antihacking technologies, such as firewall and antivirus software, Gartner recommends that small companies have a professional security firm carry out an audit of potential security risks at least once a year.
Particularly precarious companies such as financial institutions should, however, carry out a more comprehensive security reviews, Gartner recommends.
A particularly weak link for small firms is remote access, says the Gartner study. It recommends that all firms use encrypted virtual private networks (VPNs) to ensure that connections from other locations are secure.