With the recession featuring more dips than your average buffet, it’s not a big surprise to find that many small and medium businesses are looking to cut costs wherever they can. One significant area that many firms look to make cuts is the IT budget and particularly the security budget. While physical attacks, such as vandalism, have an obvious and immediate impact on business premises, the threat from cybercrime can be equally, if not more, devastating. The problem seems to be that the cost of installing and maintaining appropriate anti-virus and internet security systems seems to be obvious on the balance sheet while the benefit isn’t. However, skimping on online security will tend to appear on the balance sheet eventually. Usually in the form of a big, possibly bottomless, hole. By that point, it’s usually clear that the saving was not really a saving at all.
Growing Room for Fraud
The internet and particularly internet retail, has been one of the most significant growth areas of the economy during the roller-coaster recessionary fun of the last four years. While this is good news for businesses operating online, it’s less good to hear that internet crime is also on the upsurge. As sales have grown, so have incidences of theft and fraud. In addition to virus related issues, which can be devastating for small businesses, customer data loss can not only leave you open to threats from competitors but may also leave you at the mercy of the surprisingly long arm of the Data Commissioner’s Office. Figures compiled by one major security analyst indicate that the UK is second only to the US as a target for cyber-criminals with over twenty per cent of global attacks aimed at UK firms – including major banks and their customers.
Intelligent and Creative – and that’s just the Criminals
It’s a fairly common sense that during difficult economic times businesses will look to cut costs wherever possible, but it is equally common sense that criminality will also rise. Criminals are generally pretty intelligent, creative types; this means they are well aware that small firms will be looking to save costs and that IT security is one of the first points of call for the budgetary axe. For businesses, the perception that these costs are good places to start with the cuts is belied by the reality. Leading antivirus software provider McAfee has found that on average nearly 70 per cent of companies surveyed globally spent on average a full day per week, managing the impact of security breaches. The study also found that in countries where a lower amount of time is spent managing and implementing security solutions, a higher incidence of loss due to cybercrime is reported.
Time is Money Well Spent
Time is money, of course, and nobody can afford to spend time implementing IT security these days, can they? Ultimately the reality is that nobody can afford not to, and the smaller your firm is, the more important this investment becomes. It’s true that implementing and monitoring your security arrangements can take time, but repair, restoring and resolving problems caused by an attack is far more time consuming. Small businesses may feel that time lost on security updates and installation is money lost, but a virus attack or fraud can take far longer to resolve, keeping you away from the day job indefinitely, or at the very worst, permanently.
For businesses it can be tempting to cut the cost of online security systems, especially in these pressurised financial times. However, criminals are taking advantage of the rise in online retail and the fall of internet security as small firms try to save on costs. McAfee total protection can offer an affordable solution to keep you in business without exposing your company to the risks paused by online fraudsters and computer viruses.