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Small Businesses Put Growth at Risk by Not Protecting Against Cyberattacks, According to Symantec

Only 3% of small businesses put improving online security as a priority for future business growth; despite 74% believing a day’s worth of downtime will negatively impact their reputation

READING, U.K. – 23 July, 2014 – Symantec (Nasdaq: SYMC) today revealed that UK small businesses lack awareness of how vulnerable they are to serious cyberattacks, and what impact this could have, both in terms of cost and reputation to their business.

Research into business confidence by Symantec revealed that small businesses are gradually feeling more optimistic about growth opportunities over the next year, despite half still seeing the general state of the economy as the biggest threat.

The research found that business priorities are focused on finding and retaining customers and providing the best customer service, but improving online security is still very low on their priority list, despite small businesses in the UK experiencing 22 per cent of targeted cyberattacks1 in 2013.

Research into the views of 500 small business owners and those involved in business decisions, carried out by Vision Critical in June 2014 and commissioned by Symantec, found that:

  • More than half (58%) are confident about business growth this year, with finding and retaining new customers their number one priority for business growth
  • Investment in IT infrastructure (11%) and improving online security (3%) is low on their agenda, even though the use of security technology to help protect from external threats (e.g. phishing/online scams/hacking) is important to more than four in five (81%) small businesses
  • Almost three quarters (74%) think that a day’s worth of downtime (i.e. all IT systems went down) would impact their company’s reputation
  • In terms of the monetary value in lost revenue of a day’s worth of downtime, surprisingly 32% think they wouldn’t suffer from any lost revenue, with half estimating it would cost between £1,000-£5,000 a day

“Small businesses are the backbone to the UK economy so it’s great news that they are confident about future growth,” says Orla Murphy, EMEA Small Business Strategist at Symantec. “But if they are to achieve their business goals in the next year, they must understand just how vulnerable they are to external cyber threats that could impact their business in major ways.

“It may be that small businesses do not believe that they are even a target for cyber criminals, however attackers often use small businesses as a means of entry to larger enterprises through the supply chain. Even though IT security is sometimes not a top priority for small businesses as their owners work really hard often undertaking multiple roles, there are lot of tools available designed especially for them, and so we want to make securing their business the easy part.”

Mike Cherry, Federation of Small Businesses National Policy Chairman, says: “Small businesses must protect themselves against cyberattacks, we know that 41% of our members have fallen victim to online fraud, costing them thousands of pounds. We need to do all we can to encourage small firms to grow and it’s vital businesses use the tools available to them to ensure they’re adequately protected. Businesses can no longer put their head in the sand hoping the threat of cyberattacks is going to go away, because it isn’t.”

In May 2014, Symantec introduced Norton Small Business, a cybersecurity solution customised to support and protect small businesses with fewer than 20 employees with a flexible subscription model that makes it easy to add or transfer licenses. This product is available for purchase online and through selected small business partners.

About the research
Research carried out by Vision Critical from June 16th – 24th 2014, commissioned by Symantec. An online survey was conducted among 501 randomly selected British adults age 18+ who are employed at an organization with 1-249 employees where they have at least some significant involvement in overall business decisions. More detail on the research and a breakdown of statistics per business sector is also available from Felicity Main at Edelman or Emma Jeffs at Symantec.

About Symantec
Symantec Corporation (NASDAQ: SYMC) is an information protection expert that helps people, businesses and governments seeking the freedom to unlock the opportunities technology brings -- anytime, anywhere. Founded in April 1982, Symantec, a Fortune 500 company, operating one of the largest global data-intelligence networks, has provided leading security, backup and availability solutions for where vital information is stored, accessed and shared. The company's more than 20,000 employees reside in more than 50 countries. Ninety-nine percent of Fortune 500 companies are Symantec customers. In fiscal 2014, it recorded revenue of $6.7 billion. To learn more go to www.symantec.com or connect with Symantec at: go.symantec.com/socialmedia.

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FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS: Any forward-looking indication of plans for products is preliminary and all future release dates are tentative and are subject to change. Any future release of the product or planned modifications to product capability, functionality, or feature are subject to ongoing evaluation by Symantec, and may or may not be implemented and should not be considered firm commitments by Symantec and should not be relied upon in making purchasing decisions.

Emma Jeffs
(0118) 943 7507

Felicity Main
Edelman for Symantec
020 3047 2481