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SMEs exposed in cybercrime epidemic

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Small and medium enterprises (SMEs), which make up the majority of businesses around the world, are the most unprepared to fend off cybercrime attacks. 

Webroot Software has unveiled its latest report, “State of Internet Security: Protecting Small and Medium Businesses”, which highlights startling survey results surrounding Internet security threats among SMBs worldwide.
“Unlike larger corporations, SMBs often lack the monetary resources and IT expertise to install and maintain the type of protection needed in the face of today’s growing malware threats," says says Peter Watkins, CEO of Webroot Software.
"The real dichotomy here is that most of these companies think the real threats are viruses and worms, but the reality is the percentage of spyware is much higher and growing quickly. As a result, these companies are easier targets for cyber criminals when compared to larger companies with dedicated IT security resources.”
Consistent around the world, SMBs make up the overwhelming majority of the world’s business landscape, totaling more than 99.5% of all businesses in each country surveyed and representing more than 50% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in each country. Because of the sheer number of SMBs worldwide, they are easy for criminals to find and have several consistent internal attributes that heighten their Internet security risk including:
* Pervasive Internet use – 77% of SMBs says their success depends on the Internet.
* Home-based and remote workers – up to 52% of new businesses are home-based or remote.
* The need to store valuable customer and employee data due to online sales.
According to the Webroot report, SMBs are increasingly connected in order to do business, but there are a number of other factors impacting their IT security including:
* Lack of in-house security expertise.
* Limited budget and resource constraints.
* A constant struggle to keep pace with a growing mobile workforce.
* Absence of policies managing personal use of work computers.
*  Increasing volume of sensitive customer and employee data.
* A rapidly evolving threat landscape.
“We’re seeing a perfect storm developing that could possibly have serious economic impact," Watkins warns. "SMBs are heavily reliant on the Internet for their work, making them a target.
"Compounding matters, there has been a 183% increase in Websites harboring spyware since January 2007, and SMBs aren’t defending themselves adequately. Given that these companies are the lifeblood of the world’s leading economies in both revenue generation and employment, we have a situation that could expose both businesses and customers to a very real, significant and growing threat on a global basis.”
In conjunction with the report, Webroot has released a handbook for SMBs, “A Guide to Security for Small & Medium Business” that provides tips and best practices for protecting technology infrastructure and sensitive customer data from malware and cyber criminals.