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News

Small businesses continue to risk ID fraud exposure

Symantec : 13 October, 2009  (Technical Article)
Symantec warns small businesses to establish better procedures for handling sensitive information and documents after Fellowes research reveals high levels of sloppy approaches to data handling in the sector
Small businesses are being warned of the dangers posed by irresponsible disposal of sensitive materials. A survey, commissioned by Fellowes launched to coincide with National Identity Fraud Prevention Week (12-18 October) has highlighted that 79 percent of businesses are risking corporate identity fraud as they are not destroying sensitive material before it's thrown away or recycled.

However, it is not just hard copy material that is putting small businesses at risk, data stored on computers and mobile devices can also leave SMBs vulnerable to corporate ID fraud if IT security is not up to scratch. A survey from Symantec, a leading provider of security software, found one in four SMBs have suffered security breaches, with 13 percent actually losing money as a result.

Ross Walker, head of small and medium business, Symantec UK & Ireland says: "When you think of ID risk people tend to think of the risk to themselves as individuals, but the fact is that it can impact businesses too, and SMBs are the most at risk. Negating this risk doesn't have to be a daunting task, in many cases simply implementing good processes such as regularly updating security software, firewalls and passwords is enough and they don't' require a deep technical knowledge of dedicated IT staff. However, it is imperative that these organisations understand and know how to take simple steps, to protect themselves and limit any potential harm."

Symantec's recommended steps for small businesses:

Put in place a security solution that is designed for businesses and will keep your critical information safe wherever it is used or stored (laptops, desktops, mobile devices, servers, in email, over the network, and in storage devices)

Ensure you have effective and accurate anti-spam protection. There was a 192 percent increase in spam across the internet from 119.6 billion messages in 2007 to 349.6 billion in 2008 and tricksters are getting ever more creative

Stay informed: Several companies publish reports that help define the threat landscape for SMBs. These reports can be found on their websites or through online searches. This is a great way to stay informed about what you're up against

Have good reliable backup in place, and keep a spare copy in a secure place away from the office
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