Canadian SMBs may have a false sense of IT security: study

Canada’s small and medium sized businesses may be underestimating the need to plan for IT disasters compared to SMBs in other countries around the world, a new survey shows.

Symantec surveyed 2,053 businesses in 30 countries about how they’veadopted four technologies: mobility, server virtualization, privatecloud and public cloud. All the companies ranged in size from 5 to 250employees.

While Canadian SMBs have adopted allfour of those technologies at thesame rates as the global average, they appear less concerned than theirforeign counterparts about protecting their data from possible securityrisks that may crop up with those types of IT.

Only 28 per cent of Canadian SMBs said concerns about disasterpreparedness affected their decision to adopt mobile IT, lower than theglobal average of 36 per cent. That means Canadian companieswereless worried about possible glitches with using mobile technologiesthan SMBs in other nations around the world.

The lower concern level was found in Canadian SMBs compared to theglobal average when it came to the rest of the three IT categories aswell. Thirty per cent of Canadian SMBs said disaster preparednessconcerns were a factor in adopting server virtualization, lower thanthe global average of 34 per cent. That trend continued with theadoption of private cloud (31 per cent were concerned in Canada vs 37in the rest of the world) and public cloud (30 per cent were worried inCanada vs 34 per cent globally).

“(Canadian SMBs) were slightly less concerned about the impact ofdisaster preparedness when implementing these technologies. That’s nota great thing. But it’s not drastically different (from the rest of theworld),” said Monica Girolami, director of SMB product marketing atSymantec.

SMBs worldwidenot as worried as they should be
It’s not that Canadian SMBs overly confident compared with the rest ofthe planet, Girolami explained; it’s that SMBs worldwide arecollectively not taking disaster preparedness into account as much asthey should when adopting newer technologies, she said.

That finding is based on the fact that the survey also asked SMBs ifthey felt that adopting the four technologies has had a positive impacton their level of IT disaster preparedness. For both Canadian andforeign SMBs, over 35 per cent of SMBs felt the four types of IT(mobile, virtualization, public cloud and private cloud) had helpedthem boost their level of disaster preparedness. In fact, over 70 percent of SMBs – both in Canada and abroad – felt virtualization has madethem better equipped to avert or recover from an IT catastrophe.

That perception of being adequately prepared for the worst simplydoesn’t mesh with the high level of IT security risk that exists today,Girolami said.

“There’s a discrepancy between the psychology and the reality,” shesaid. “(SMBs) are feeling more confident and prepared (for ITdisasters). But they’re still experiencing downtime and outages. Somoving to these technologies didn’t completely eliminate (disasters).”

The global average cost borne by companies as a result of a security ordata disaster is $12,500 per incident per day, Girolami said, notingthat it’s a cost that could put some SMBs out of business quickly.Companies of all sizes should make sure they should plan as early aspossible for disasters, implement technologies to be prepared, ensuretheir information is completely protected, and review and test theirdisaster preparedness plans regularly to update it if needed.

Christine WongChristineWong is a Staff Writer at E-mail her at,connect on Google+,follow her on Twitter,and join in the conversation on the IT BusinessFacebook Page.
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