Small Businesses Overwhelmed by IT Security Issues

According to the Webroot survey, IT employees at nearly one in three companies juggle security along with their other IT responsibilities.

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At the majority of small to medium businesses, IT teams are expected to handle all cyber-security management and concerns, according to a Webroot survey of 300 IT decision-makers in the U.K., 200 IT decision-makers in the U.S., and 200 IT decision-makers in Australia.

According to the survey, IT employees at nearly one in three companies (32 percent) juggle security along with their other IT responsibilities.

In addition, IT decision makers can point to specific areas in which they feel underprepared. According to the survey, almost half (48 percent) think their company is vulnerable to insider threats, such as employees.

Following that, 45 percent believe they are unprepared for unsecured internal and external networks, such as public WiFi, and 40 percent for unsecured endpoints, such as computers and mobile devices.

"There were a number of concerning findings, but this stat speaks volumes: just 37 percent of IT decision makers surveyed in the U.S., the U.K., and Australia believe their organizations are completely ready to manage IT security and protect against threats," Grayson Milbourne, Webroot's security intelligence director, told eWEEK. "We're not entirely surprised given the considerable cyber-security challenges SMBs face, but it's still an alarmingly low number."

Milbourne said the survey findings attest to the fact that the SMB security landscape must evolve, and so, it then becomes a matter of when and how.

"For starters, the survey makes it clear IT decision makers are stretched thin. Therefore, we should expect a continued movement towards outsourced IT, particularly on the cyber-security front," he explained.

Respondents also are very open to other strategies for improvement, with an overwhelming 81 percent also in agreement that outsourcing IT solutions (including cyber-security endeavors) would increase their bandwidth to address other areas of their business.

"In order to reap the full array of benefits, though, IT decision makers must be proactive about identifying MSPs that offer intelligent cyber-security solutions," he pointed out. "Our definition of intelligent? Solutions that are easy to install, can be managed remotely, and provide real-time protection against modern threats. While these are all important qualifications, we expect SMBs to place an increased premium on the real-time component."

Overall, 81 percent of respondents plan to increase their annual IT security budget for 2016, by an average of 22 percent.