Article from Symantec Global Green News ()
November 25, 2009
US consumers and small businesses lack adequate cybersecurity measures

The 2009 National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA)-Symantec Online Safety Study suggests that Americans need to employ safer cyber hygiene. NCSA Executive Director Michael Kaiser says, "Cybersecurity requires vigilance, maintenance, and contingency planning every day of the year.

The study results show that:

Computer users face potential significant losses of valuable information; more than 55 percent of Americans backup their files less often than once a month

Less than 25 percent of those polled change passwords quarterly and more than 50 percent never change them at all

Symantec provides free materials on the Every Click Matters website, including the Norton Online Risk Calculator, which helps consumers assess their worth to a cybercriminal, and the Cybercrime Exposed booklet.

In turn, small business owners' cybersecurity policies and actions are not adequate enough to ensure the safety of their employees, intellectual property, and customer data, according to the 2009 National Small Business Cybersecurity Study.

Sixty-five percent of the business survey claimed that the Internet was critical to their businesses' success yet they are doing very little to ensure that their employees and systems are not victims of a data breach.

The survey shows:

 Only 28 percent of U.S. small businesses have formal Internet security policies

 35 percent provide ANY training to employees about Internet safety and security; of those small businesses that do provide cybersecurity training, 63 percent provide less than 5 hours per year

 75 percent of small businesses said that they use the Internet to communicate with customers yet only 6 percent fear the loss of customer data

 Laptops, PDAs, and wireless networks carry with them an added responsibility to ensure the data is secure, because more than 66 percent of employees take computers or PDAs containing sensitive information off-site

Published by Symantec Environmental Responsibility