- From The Confident SMB, July 2010 Issue (Download This Entire Issue in PDF)
Beefing Up Data Protection
Threat of cybercrime grows across the globe
Cybercrime is a growing concern for SMBs and individuals around the world. As part of National Cyber Security Awareness Week, an initiative of the Australian Government, a Symantec survey revealed that 56 percent of SMBs in Australia were affected by cybercrime in 2009, up 10 percent from 2008. While increases in both the amount and complexity of attacks are to blame, the change can also be attributed to the decline in IT budgets over the past year.
To fight this growing international trend, governments have gotten involved. The Mexican Senate recently passed the Federal Data Protection Act, a new law on data protection that will levy penalties up to $1.5 million for violators of the law. Jurisdiction for the country’s Federal Institute of Access to Information and Data Protection will expand to cover the protection of personal information of private individuals and entities, helping to guarantee data protection at the federal level in Mexico.
Covered under the act is sensitive personal data such as medical condition, race, and religion; consent of the individual is required before any outside entity can process the data.
SMBs Get Serious
Survey shows protection a high priority
The 2010 SMB Information Protection Survey by Symantec reveals that data loss and cyberattacks are on the minds of SMBs: 74 percent said they were somewhat/extremely concerned over the loss of vital business information, while 73 percent experienced cyber attacks over the past year. The data is in sharp contrast to a survey conducted more than 15 months ago that showed SMBs were foregoing even the most basic protections.
According to the survey, two thirds of IT time is spent on information protection, with $51,000 the median amount spent by SMBs to protect information. Backup and recovery, disaster recovery readiness, and security were listed as the top three IT areas slated to improve over the next 12 months—only 23 percent listed their disaster preparedness plan as pretty good/ excellent. Financial loss is a big motivation, with losses averaging more than $188,000 for SMBs that sustained cyber attacks. To learn more, click here.
Proceeding with Caution
IT industry looking forward to better times
The IT industry sees better conditions in the months to come after a rocky previous year, according to the Spiceworks’ State of SMB IT April 2010 report, from a survey of more than 1,250 SMB IT professionals. Though reduced IT spending in the latter half of 2009 produced a backlog of demands, that frugality may carry through 2010. A “less is more” attitude prevails, with 70 percent of IT departments achieving their 2010 goals with the same or fewer staff as last year.The report found that IT budgets are up an average of 9 percent in 2010 from the year prior, half of that allocated to hardware and replacing aging systems. Virtualization continues to be a popular trend, with 44 percent of IT departments using the technology and another 21 percent planning to invest in virtualization software. Other highlights of the report show that cloud computing remains a hot topic, with 25 percent planning to use the cloud for computing services over the next six months, though another 45 percent remain skeptical over security concerns and viability.
To learn more, click here.
5 Tips for Protecting Information
Symantec expands its SMB Information Protection portfolio
To help SMBs protect valuable business information, Symantec announced the expansion of its SMB Information Protection portfolio, which includes Symantec Protection Suite Advanced Business Edition. The company also offered the following protection tips.
1. To ensure propriety information is safe, particularly bank and credit cards, implement an integrated security and backup solution. SMBs can suffer financial ruin from a single breach, an easily preventable occurrence.
2. Look at where information is stored and protect those areas with encryption and security updates, as well as enforcing password management for employees, which can help protect data on a lost or hacked laptop.
3. Have a disaster recovery and backup solution in place for the unexpected calamity. With many SMBs operating 24x7, a system failure could mean disaster for a business.
4. Time is valuable, which is why an email and Web security solution is important for eliminating time-consuming spam and email threats. Educate your employees on best email practices.
5. Keep employees educated on the latest malware threats and put a formal Internet security policy in place.
To learn more, click here.
Being first can have its disadvantages. Apple suffered its worst security breach recently, exposing up to 114,000 iPad owners—including numerous CEOs, military officials, and leading politicians—to spam, malware, and malicious hacking. Access to user accounts from early adopters of the tablet, which includes subscriber email addresses and a related ID used to identify the SIM card to the individual, were discovered by Web security group Goatse Security. Prominent iPad owners affected by the breach include White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, New York Times Co. CEO Janet Robinson, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and film producer Harvey Weinstein. To read more, click here.
Symantec Wins Tech•Ed Awards
The prestigious Microsoft Tech•Ed awards, which recognize Microsoft partners offering the most innovated products or services for the year, were held in New Orleans recently, and two Symantec products came out on top from a field of close to 300 submissions. In the category of Backup and Recovery, Symantec Backup Exec 2010 was the winner for the solution’s new integrated features such as archiving, deduplication, and Granular Restore Technology, as well as its ease of use. Winning in the Security category, Symantec Endpoint Protection Small Business Edition 12 was recognized for providing small businesses with the same software features designed for larger enterprises, namely a centrally managed security system, but with a price and ease of use for SMBs. To read more, click here.
Expanding the Symantec Information Protection Portfolio
Symantec recently announced expansion of its SMB Protection Portfolio, which will give SMB customers greater flexibility when it comes to protecting crucial business information, such as bank account numbers, credit card information, and customer and employee records. Symantec Protection Suite Advanced Business Edition provides SMBs with complete protection that includes endpoint protection and messaging security, hosted options for email and Web security, and endpoint and server backup and recovery. Three primary features of the new software are its enhanced level of complete protection, business continuity protection, and ease of management. To read more, click here.
Symantec Enhances Licensing
Symantec recently announced enhancements to its subscription-based licensing program for partners, offering more options and greater rewards. The ExSP Licensing Program allows Symantec partners to choose to buy Symantec software in a monthly subscription-based model, which provides greater flexibility in how solutions are deliveredto customers. With a low-minimum entry point, the program is accessible by a wider range of partner sizes, helping those partners who provide Symantec solution-based services to lower their up-front costs. Offered to large service providers since 2006, the program is now providing a more streamlined and simplified process for all segments of Symantec’s partner community, including SMB partners. To read more, click here.
World Cup Malware
Everyone knows it’s easy for fans to get swept up when it comes to their favorite team, including cybercriminals. According to a Symantec MessageLabs Intelligence blog, a two-headed malware attack appeared recently that targets Brazilian business executives with World Cuprelated enticements. The scam uses a tainted PDF attachment and malicious link with subject lines such as “If Brazil wins, you also gain!” to lure its victims into downloading malicious content. Symantec officials labeled at least 45 such socially engineered malware emails that first appeared prior to the start of the World Cup soccer tournament. The emails spoof a popular sportswear company, which is also a World Cup sponsor, increasing the odds for infection by including both the contaminated PDF and malicious link. Hackers are taking advantage of the level of fervor for soccer in Brazil, a winner of five World Cups, as well as a top target for cybercrime. But while soccer fans have to wait another four years for the next World Cup, rest assured that cybercriminals won’t be taking any breaks. To read more, click here.
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