Protecting data from being leaked or hacked – that’s the top security priority for businesses around the world, according to a new survey from Kaspersky Labs.

In a survey released today, which Kaspersky Labs conducted with B2B International, researchers polled 3,900 IT managers from 27 countries. This is the fourth study of its kind, with Kaspersky releasing a new one every year.

For this year’s survey, what stood out was that among IT managers, their top three concerns had to do with data security in some form. About 34 per cent of IT managers polled said protecting sensitive data from targeted attacks was their biggest concern. Twenty-nine per cent of respondents answered in the same vein, saying stopping IT security breaches was their main goal, while 28 per cent said the same of data protection.

(Image: Kaspersky Labs).
(Image: Kaspersky Labs).

“Remarkably, during the last survey period, targeted attacks were not named among the top IT-related problems,” the survey’s researchers wrote in their report. They noted one of the reasons for the change may be the recent spate of high-profile data breaches reported in the media, with major retailers like Home Depot, Target, and most recently, Staples, getting hit.

Other findings in the Kaspersky Labs report indicated businesses had other external threats to be concerned about as well. Sixty-four per cent of respondents said spam was their biggest concern, closely followed by viruses, worms, spyware, and other malicious programs at 61 per cent. Thirty-eight per cent said they were concerned about phishing, while 25 per cent said they were worried about hacking.

Other concerns included theft of mobile devices, distributed denial of service attacks, theft of hardware, corporate espionage, and criminal damage through means like arson.

Interestingly enough, 12 per cent of respondents said their biggest external threat was targeted attacks aimed specifically at their organizations. Report authors noted that could be coming from government departments or any businesses in the defense sector, with 18 per cent of those organizations reporting they encountered at least one targeted attack this year.

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