A study from Symantec has revealed that New Zealand companies see cyberattacks as the biggest threat to their businesses, ahead of terrorism or natural disasters. Symantec’s New Zealand State of Security Study found that 39 percent of companies surveyed believe IT security is more important now than it was 12 months ago.
The survey also puts internally generated IT threats and IT incidents caused by well-meaning insiders on top of the list of business concerns.
Social media, mobile computing and the consumerisation of IT are vastly changing the threat landscape, according to the security company.
Steve Martin, Symantec’s director, SMB, Pacific region, says companies in New Zealand need to make a strategic shift and move away from device-centric approaches and into information-centric ones.
“More than two thirds of New Zealand businesses saw cyberattacks last year. My guess is that the ones who said no didn’t know what they were talking about,” says Martin. “The reality is that attacks are increasingly growing. Every business is being attacked.”
The survey also found that downtime is the most important implication of cyberattacks, followed by theft of corporate data, intellectual property and financial information. In most cases, losses translated into actual costs for the businesses. In fact, over 20 percent of businesses who were victims of cyberattacks experienced a loss of $70,000 or more as a result of those attacks.
For Martin, companies need to come up with new ways of securing information. “You can no longer firewall your business,” he says. “Already, 2011 is the year of the data breach.”
The director says it is vital that companies assume a pro-active role in protecting information “by taking an information-centric approach”. “The device is irrelevant, focus on information,” he adds.
Keeping software up to date, along with patches, is vital to ensure business protection. “Software written two or three years ago won’t protect you from today’s threats,” he warns.
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