Panda Security’s Latest Survey Shows Small Business Fails At Data Security

image I’ve been working on an article for some time, investigation whether small business is up to the task of protecting your personal information; particularly your financial data (credit card, debit card, details), following a consumer transaction.

The background research has revealed a sobering reality – many small and medium sized businesses really suck at protecting their customers’ critical financial information.

So, when I had the opportunity to read Panda Security’s study (released yesterday), of security in SMBs (including 1,500 US SMBs), which showed that a startling percentage of US based SMBs just don’t get the security equation, I was not in the least bit surprised.

Look at these stats from the survey:

The infection ratio at U.S. companies has slightly increased since last year (46 percent in 2010 compared to 44 percent in 2009). It has dropped in Europe (49 percent in 2010 compared to 58 percent in 2009).

Viruses are the most popular threat SMBs are encountering (45 percent), followed by spyware (23 percent).

Thirty-six percent of US SMBs use free consumer security applications.

Unbelievably, 13 percent have no security in place!

Thirty-one percent of businesses are operating without anti-spam

Twenty three percent have no anti-spyware.

Fifteen percent have no firewall.

Participants: The survey consisted of companies with between 2 and 1,000 computers. 1,532 in the United States participated in the survey, and nearly 10,000 in total across the U.S., Europe, Latin America and North America.

The next time you use your credit/debit card at your local Butcher, Baker, or Candlestick Maker, consider carefully the risks involved. It might be prudent to inquire whether the business operates in a twenty first century security environment.

Yes, I know, you might see this as an overreaction – but it’s hardly that. Unless we, as consumers, force the issue, many SMBs will continue to operate with their heads up their in the cloud – unfortunately, not in the security cloud.

I’ll tell you a little secret – I never use my credit, or debit card, when transacting business with a small local merchant. It’s not the small monetary loss that concerns me, since the card issuer sets my liability limit at $50. Instead, it’s the more critical information that can be stolen and used in identity theft.

About Panda Security;

Founded in 1990, Panda Security is the world’s leading provider of cloud-based security solutions with products available in more than 23 languages and millions of users located in 195 countries around the world.

Panda Security was the first IT security company to harness the power of cloud computing with its Collective Intelligence technology.

For more information, visit Panda US.

A PDF version of the full report is available here.

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6 Comments

Filed under cybercrime, Don't Get Scammed, Don't Get Hacked, Free Anti-malware Software, Interconnectivity, Malware Advisories, Panda Security, Point of View, Windows Tips and Tools

6 responses to “Panda Security’s Latest Survey Shows Small Business Fails At Data Security

  1. Mal

    Hey Bill,

    Australia is behind the rest of the world when it comes to this. There was a big scam a few months back, in Western Australia, where thousands of people had their bank card details stolen, through scimming devices in McDonalds stores. All I can say about that is, tough, teach them for eating crap food.

    I’m a bit like you, I usually try to pay cash for everything I buy, and I only use my own bank’s ATM. Funnily, my caution online extends to real life lol.

    Cheers

    • Hey Mal,

      Yes, your right. Security precautions shouldn’t only to be practiced online. They need to be an integral part of life behaviour. Otherwise, the risk of failure is to high.

      Great point – thanks for making it.

      Best,

      Bill

  2. Bill,

    You are “right on” with this… Years ago I assisted people (who ran small, small businesses) and were trying to manage their own IT (to keep their costs down). It amazed me then, that the data being collected about people (customers) was (in my opinion) at high risk (and probably is still at high risk today). You are right to point this out and people need to know that “cheapest” is not always the way to go.

    Rick

  3. Liam O' Moulain

    You’re dead on with this Bill.

    I’ve heard a real horror story from friends who had their identity stolen, after a restaurant they visited had their HD removed with all sorts of credit card info still on it.

    Negligence, to say the least.

    Liam