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 Tuesday, 22nd November 2011, 11:00:42

Most firms 'unaware they have data security problems'

Most firms 'unaware they have data security problems'

Companies looking to improve their security measures as a result of the recent increases in attacks may be encouraged to take extra precaution against the ongoing threat of cyber crime following recent statements from an expert.

Mark Dempster, associate of the Centre for Cyber Security, suggested the majority of firms may be unaware they have a problem with data protection at all, with some failing to realise they have lost valuable information or that their operations have been compromised.

"Cyber security issues are affecting many areas and the destructive nature of the incident can vary from the annoying, like spam, to the catastrophic - a total loss of the company's critical product design information," he explained.

His comments were made after recent research carried out by AVG Technologies highlighted the extent of financial loss experienced by small to medium-sized businesses in the UK alone due to their failure to take action to improve security.

The findings revealed one in six firms have experienced an IT breach, while collectively lesser-known companies lost 30 million man hours attempting to rectify issues caused by criminal activity.

Mr Dempster stated losing data physically or through cyber attacks can be incredibly difficult for companies due to many of them going unnoticed, thus encouraging firms to feel like there is little progress that can be made.

"The reputational damage in the market or with their direct customers may be too damaging - Sony being a classical example of this," he added.

The expert went on to acknowledge the potential for moving towards creating new legislation to make it mandatory for firms to report known incidents, although this is yet to have been considered among European nations.

Earlier this month, foreign secretary William Hague suggested that a more "joined-up" approach to tackling cyber crime through international collaboration could help to tackle the issue while speaking at the London Conference on Cyberspace.

His suggestions emerged after the AVG Technologies research revealed companies spent around £1.2 million replacing software and £2.2 million in terms of lost sales and revenue.

Additionally, researchers discovered one in seven lesser-known firms are not using any security, primarily due to cost or a lack of awareness regarding the continual threat of cyber crime.

In response to the research, Robert Gorby - global head of small business propositions at AVG Technologies - suggested even a small amount of government action against the issue could have a profound effect in making companies feel safe in the knowledge their data is well protected.

However, Mr Gorby went on to state data security can not simply be solved at government level and it is up to individual businesses to introduce measures that may prevent them falling victim to illegal activity.

"On a very basic level just make sure you've got an antivirus or internet security solution installed on every device and make sure you've got your staff trained about the risks online," he suggested.

Additionally, backing up data could be an effective way to ensure important documents and information are not lost at an individual or company level, the expert argued.

Mr Gorby went on to urge businesses to sit down and consult colleagues to consider action that can be taken, while identifying areas that could be improved, in a bid to apply the correct processes and technology to tackle the problem.

Meanwhile, security software organisation McAfee recently announced the latest improvements to its Cloud Security Platform, which includes data loss prevention that safeguards information moving to the cloud.

In addition, the advancements enable companies to leverage on-premise infrastructures and data classification capabilities for speedy inventory and categorisation across hundreds of servers.

Posted by Judy Gifford

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Categories:  |  Security  |  


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