SMBs see more malware than before

A Trend Micro study has found that employees in small and midsized businesses believe they are encountering a growing amount of malware, such as spyware.

A study has revealed that end-users working in small and midsized businesses (SMBs) believe they are encountering malware more often than before.

Conducted in July 2005 by security vendor Trend Micro, the online survey drew responses from more than 1,200 corporate end-users from businesses in the United States, Germany and Japan. Respondents were from SMBs with fewer than 500 employees in Germany and the United States, and fewer than 250 in Japan.

Of the three countries, end-users in the United States were more likely to encounter spyware, with 46 percent of respondents having experienced it at least once during the last three months before the study was conducted.

On the other hand, one in three respondents working in an SMB in Japan believed the amount of spyware they encounter is increasing.

As for spam, a high 75 percent of SMB employees in Japan said antispam protection in their companies was poor, while 47 percent of German respondents said they noticed an increase in the amount of spam they received in the past three months.

In addition, 57 percent of respondents believed that phishing attacks--often launched via e-mail spam--had increased within the same timeframe.

"Smaller businesses face a dilemma," said Steve Quane, general manager of Trend Micro's SMB operations, in a media statement. He added that encounters with security threats are rising faster amongst smaller organizations, but at the same time, these organizations are restricted by time, cost, and available resources.

The study revealed that only 56 percent in Germany, 54 percent of SMBs in the United States, and just 36 percent in Japan have an IT department. Among those with IT support, 44 percent of German, 38 percent of American and 30 percent of Japanese SMBs said they had contacted IT about a security concern or breach within the past three months.

"Whether they have an IT organization or not, these (SMBs) need solutions that make their lives easier, and where security protection and threat prevention can be automated," Quane said. "Assessing the efficiency and cost of ownership of current security measures that protect all layers of a network against unpredictable threats--will help businesses to stay a step ahead of malicious attacks."