European SMEs have false sense of security

24 Jul 2007

SMEs across Europe have been warned of increasing use of unsafe websites and applications by employees.

A new survey reveals a potentially hazardous disparity between perceived and actual levels of threat to SMEs.

The research released, today by Websense Inc., has revealed that small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) throughout Europe are failing to protect themselves against today’s emerging security threats.

The Small and Medium Sized Business State of Security (SOS) survey highlighted the increasing use of potentially unsafe websites and applications by employees, coupled with a dangerous lack of understanding regarding the security threats these sites pose.

However, both IT Managers and employees believed their jobs would be at risk for infecting the company with malicious code (45pc and 83pc, respectively).

Moreover, the research also exposed a worrying discrepancy between IT managers’ perception of the protection they have in place and their real state of security.

The study of 750 IT managers and general employees in SMBs in five European countries, found that 98pc of IT managers believed their technology and processes were adequate.

Over half (53pc) believe their company to be very well protected against security threats and a quarter feel 100pc protected.

Yet when questioned further, it emerged that the vast majority of SMEs failed to defend themselves against security holes by blocking peer-to-peer, filtering internet use, and blocking attachments to instant messages.

Of the list of nine potential security risks, no company protected against all of the threats, with 15pc believing firewall and antivirus solutions were sufficient protection for their business.

By Joe Griffin