Major incidents unavoidable but most SMBs feel unprepared to handle them, surveys find

IT-security managers in Australian small and medium businesses (SMBs) feel more conflict from time pressures than their peers in other countries, according to new research that also found that just 37 percent of small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) consider themselves “completely ready” to manage security threats and only half are prepared to deal with threats from employees and other insiders.

The Webroot 2015 SMB Threat Report, which surveyed 700 IT decision-makers in the US, UK, and Australia, found that 39 percent were “almost ready” to handle IT-security threats while 21 percent were “somewhat ready”.

Fully 64 percent said they were ready to deal with insecure web sites and phishing attempts, while 60 percent were on top of unsecured endpoints and 55 percent could handle unsecured internal and external networks. Just 52 percent said they were ready to detect and manage insider threats.

Some 61 percent of Australians – far more than the 50 percent of US and 55 percent of UK respondents – said they didn't have enough time to stay abreast of the latest cybersecurity threats. Australian respondents were also less confident in their endpoint security, with just 55 percent expressing endpoint confidence compared with 63 percent in the US and UK.

"SMBs play a pivotal role in helping drive the economies of all the countries polled, but past experiences have taught them they face an uphill battle when it comes to cybersecurity," said Webroot director of product marketing George Anderson in a statement. "This perception must change.”

The Webroot findings echo the results of another new survey, conducted by Dimensional Research for communications solutions provider xMatters, which recently surveyed 400 companies globally on their incident response capabilities and found that only 52 percent of companies had major-incident teams and standard processes in place.

That presented a significant problem for businesses – but was no surprise to respondents, given that 72 of respondents said major incidents are an unavoidable fact of business and 60 percent of large organisations experience a major IT outage at least monthly.

“At long last, IT departments and business leaders are on the same page when it comes to recognising the severity of business impact during a major incident and the importance of solving disruptions as quickly as possible,” Dimensional Research principal David Gehringer said in a statement.

“However, they’re unfortunately falling far short of their goals of solving problems on time and in an efficient manner, often due to poor alerting and communications management.”

Lack of funding is often pinpointed as the scapegoat for such shortcomings: fully 60 percent of the Webroot survey respondents blamed their inadequate response capabilities on a lack of resources for maintaining their defences, although annual IT security budgets were set to increase by an average of 22 percent next year.

Only 24 percent of SMBs had inhouse IT-security organisations to handle their defences, while 9 percent outsourced their security to a managed service provider and 27 percent relied on a mix of the two approaches.

The remainder used a range of approaches to delegating IT security, with 32 percent handing IT-security responsibilities to people with other IT responsibilities and 5 percent relying on non-IT employees to handle IT security.

Read more: How Can I Protect Myself from Identity Theft Online?

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Tags WebrootSMBsDimensional Researchsmall and medium-sized businesses (SMBs)Webroot 2015 SMB Threat ReportIT-security managers

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