SMBs Are Sitting Ducks for Cyber-Crime

By Lisa Vaas  |  Print this article Print


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A Webroot report says SMBs are a big chunk of the economy, have minimal IT staffs and don't understand the dangers.

How's this for a cyber-crime target: In most industrialized countries, SMBs make up 97 to 99 percent of all companies. Yet most of those small to midsize businesses have tiny IT groups, and most of those IT groups don't have security expertise—heck, they don't even have security policies to manage employees' personal use of work computers.

Those grim facts come from an Oct. 16 survey out of Webroot Software. For its latest quarterly State of Internet Security report, Webroot surveyed companies with five to 999 computers in six countries: Canada, France, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States.

"SMB" is a fuzzy term. Each country has a slightly different definition of what constitutes a small or medium-size business. In some countries, an SMB has fewer than 1,000 employees, in some it's sub-500, and in others it's fewer than 100, according to Webroot. However, in general, companies with fewer than 1,000 employees form a large chunk of many countries' economy. In the United States, companies with fewer than 500 employees account for half of all private-sector workers, and SMBs produce half of the private, non-farm GDP (gross domestic product), the Boulder, Colo., company said. In the United Kingdom, SMBs account for almost 60 percent of all employment.

Webroot CEO Peter Watkins told eWEEK that SMBs are getting hit hard by cyber-crime—unsurprising, given the scant IT coverage they have in-house. "When you look at some individual statistics about the number of people they have devoted to areas like IT, it's amazingly small," he said. "[Thirty-one percent] of small businesses have two to three people or less devoted to IT."

Read the full story on eWEEK.com: SMBs Are Sitting Ducks for Cyber-Crime
Lisa Vaas is News Editor/Operations for eWEEK.com and also serves as editor of the Database topic center. Since 1995, she has also been a Webcast news show anchorperson and a reporter covering the IT industry. She has focused on customer relationship management technology, IT salaries and careers, effects of the H1-B visa on the technology workforce, wireless technology, security, and, most recently, databases and the technologies that touch upon them. Her articles have appeared in eWEEK's print edition, on eWEEK.com, and in the startup IT magazine PC Connection. Prior to becoming a journalist, Vaas experienced an array of eye-opening careers, including driving a cab in Boston, photographing cranky babies in shopping malls, selling cameras, typography and computer training. She stopped a hair short of finishing an M.A. in English at the University of Massachusetts in Boston. She earned a B.S. in Communications from Emerson College. She runs two open-mic reading series in Boston and currently keeps bees in her home in Mashpee, Mass.

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