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Business Perspectives

Data: If It’s Not Protected, It’s Not Confidential!
Thoughts and Analysis from Carine Clark
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Protecting your customers’ privacy is always a top priority. Whether it’s third-party email spamming, careless employee practices, or plans not yet implemented to install or upgrade security software, keeping your business’s data confidential doesn’t just happen.

A recent survey of small businesses reveals critical information about employee habits. A surprising 59 percent of small business employees themselves are responsible for IT, and 70 percent say that their company does not have a formal Internet security policy. Of those who do, only 66 percent have a privacy policy that their employees must comply with when they handle customer information—everything from financial records, to credit cards, to a patient’s personal data. According to the survey, given the safety measures currently in place, 58 percent believe their company is only somewhat safe from hackers, viruses, malware, or a cybersecurity breach. No wonder: a whopping 23 percent are able to log in to their company’s wireless network without a password!1

That’s critical when you consider what the experts are saying: the biggest single vulnerability to a company’s cybersecurity are those employees who engage in bad cybersecurity behavior; that is, they download things they shouldn’t download, open attachments they shouldn’t open, and use unsecure wireless facilities to transmit corporate data. Clearly, these things have nothing to do with the IT department; it’s an issue of poorly trained employees and a lack of policies.

It’s critical that you know where your confidential data is stored, monitor how it’s being used, and manage and enforce unified data security policies. It’s just as critical that employees understand that they own the data and need to handle it with care.

Regardless of the size of your business, even a small business has lots of access points into the data. It makes good business sense to ensure that everybody in the office is handling data in a manner that keeps it safe and protected.


Carine S. Clark
Chief Marketing Officer, Symantec

1 “2009 NCSA/Symantec Small Business Study,” National Cyber Security Alliance, Symantec, and Zogby International, October 2009.

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