Home Security Survey: cybercrime is greatest source of risk to business

A recent survey of 250 Australian businesses found that their greatest fear was some kind of cyber attack; exceeding their fear of terrorism and natural disasters.

Presented with a list of seven potential threats by the instigators of Symantec's latest "State of Security" study, the senior-level IT and C-level executives surveyed made Cyber Attack a clear leader, followed by internal IT 'stuff-ups,' then internal IT threats, traditional criminal activity, brand-related events, natural disasters and finally terrorism.

Interestingly, 'terrorism' was not only last, it was a very distant last.

With this in mind, 37% of respondents indicated that securing their IT infrastructure was more important to them than it was a year ago (oddly, 11% indicated that it was less important).

When asked about the specific drivers to this increased awareness of security, a clear majority pointed to the rise of mobile computing as the most important trend.

Within the past year, 67% saw cyber attacks on their infrastructure (presumably the other 33% weren't looking).  Twenty one percent said that the attack frequency was increasing.  Larger organisations were more likely to see cyber attacks at 73 percent, compared to 63 percent of SMBs.

"High profile IT exploits witnessed throughout 2011 demonstrate that criminals are going after valuable targets around the world, a trend that is reflected in the study's finding that larger businesses report a greater prevalence of attacks," said Steve Martin, director, SMB, Pacific region, Symantec.

"The challenge for many businesses is finding the right balance of leveraging productivity-enhancing innovations like mobile computing, social media, the consumerisation of IT, cloud computing and virtualisation whilst not comprising on their levels of cybersecurity. The best approach for any business facing these security challenges is to apply the same levels of security and management to all endpoints - whether mobile, on premise or in the cloud - without exception," added Martin.

The 2010 global version of the survey may be downloaded from the Synmantec website; presumably the 2011 report will be available soon.

According to Symantec; Symantec debuted the State of Security Study in 2010 and this year has expanded the report to include small and mid-sized businesses as well. Applied Research fielded this survey on behalf of Symantec by telephone in April 2011. Of the Australian organisations surveyed, 150 organisations had between 5-499 employees and the remaining 100 had 500 employees or more. The survey has a reliability of 95 percent confidence with +/- 6.2 percent margin of error.

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