Home Business IT Security SMEs ‘complacent” with IP, data protection

Australia’s small to medium business owners (SMEs) are said to have a false sense of security about data and document safety measures as highly sophisticated business technologies transform the way many organisations operate.

That’s the findings of a survey of Australian SMEs as they reportedly struggle to employ document and data safety measures in their businesses, with apparently only 25 percent of them taking the issue seriously by addressing the problem directly with staff.

The survey, conducted for Konica Minolta by Woolcott Research, reveals that 94% of companies surveyed say they are aware of document and data security risks, despite fewer numbers taking the matter seriously.

According to Dr. David Cooke, Executive General Manager at Konica Minolta, the research showed that the 262 SMEs surveyed have a “high level of complacency” towards protecting their intellectual property and they are “unaware of the consequences.”

Dr Cooke says that “highly sophisticated business technologies are changing the way organisations operate, yet a false sense of security prevails among Australian SMEs.”

“Security risks include documents left on the printer and falling into the wrong hands, scanned data sent from a Multi-Function Device to an unauthorised smart device or recycled printers that haven’t been through the process of hard drive removal which contains sensitive IP.

“These breaches are not only a hard cost to SMEs, such as legal disputes, a decline in sales and employee turnover, but also soft costs such as time wasted in recovery of sensitive information and reputation damage.”

Dr Cooke says that, surprisingly, the research also found that 76 percent of businesses don’t believe the office printer is a potential security risk despite today’s highly sophisticated Multi-Function Device machines.

He says that Multi-Function Devices (MFDs) are at the forefront of technological advances and provide a great service, however he cautions that businesses do need to be “aware that there are associated risks due to the capabilities of capturing and storing information sent to its hard drive.”

“Our aim is to raise awareness of the impact and educate businesses about the specialist services and business solutions available to them that will reduce the likelihood of a security breach.”

“At Konica Minolta, we take this issue very seriously and continue to improve our devices so that we can offer a broader range of solutions for businesses.”

Dr Cooke said Knoica Minolta was launching its new OPS bizhub SECURE service which includes features such as temporary data overwriting, administrator passwords, hard drive removal and encryption, with these settings able to be customised “depending on a client’s specific security requirements.”

"This issue of security isn’t going to go away – if anything, it will get bigger, so it’s important that businesses, both large and small, start implementing security policies across all areas of their business,” Cooke concluded.


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Peter Dinham


Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).