By Maximilian Clarke

A quarter of UK small businesses are leaving themselves vulnerable to threats in IT security, research suggests.

Despite 92% of small business owners polled valuing IT security as important or very important for their business, a quarter fail to use any form of IT security software, research of 1,000 UK small and medium sized enterprises carried out by OnePoll on behalf of IT security firm, KC shows.

Threats to security are increased for most businesses by their failure to install security software on their mobile phones, despite over a third indicating mobile devices are regularly hooked up to their office network.
The results indicate that small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) are leaving themselves vulnerable to attacks that could lead to the loss of important information and productivity through systems failure, or worse; theft of financial data and money. KC is calling on small businesses to step up their IT security and protect their business.

Tracey Hannan, IT security specialist at KC, explains: “The internet is vital to the operations of most businesses these days. But by not taking adequate security precautions, small businesses are playing Russian Roulette every time they go online, open an email or connect a mobile phone to their computer to download music. This may sound dramatic, but when you consider that each security breach costs between £10,000 and £20,000, in a tough economic environment this can mean make or break. No one would knowingly leave their office or shop unlocked at all times, so why do it online?”

To help small businesses get to grips with IT security, KC has outlined three steps that all business owners should consider.

Top three IT security steps for small businesses:

Introduce a security policy — and even an acceptable use policy for your staff when using company email and the internet. This should spell out what staff can and can’t use company IT systems and equipment for.
Insurance — make sure your insurance policy covers your business for financial losses due to a serious IT breach should one ever occur.
Antivirus software — antivirus software is one of the best ways to protect your network from viruses, worms, Trojans, bots and malware.

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