Businesses exhibit growing awareness of data security risks

Another survey, commissioned in this case by telecoms firm Orange, has shown that there is an ongoing improvement in the level of concern and care with which small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) in the UK approach data loss and the risks facing personal information for which they are responsible.

26 per cent of respondents said that proper data security measures that mitigate the threats posed to private data occupy a significant element of their agendas. However, there is relatively low level of action being taken amongst UK businesses. Over three quarters of those questioned said that the loss or theft of data either from internal systems or via misplaced or stolen portable storage devices was a constant fear.

11 per cent of respondents told Orange that they have felt the financial ramifications associated with data loss as a result of a portable device going astray, whilst 12 per cent claimed that intellectual property that could be valuable to competitors and damaging to their business had been compromised as a result of data loss facilitated by poor security measures.

Orange measured the levels of data loss awareness around the UK and found that those based in Northern Ireland were more acutely concerned with the problems at hand, as data loss prevention topped the list of challenges in exactly half of Northern Irish businesses. This means that in some cases productivity and growth within a business are playing second fiddle to data protection.

The North East of England was the region apparently least concerned with data loss, as not a single business questioned there said that it was looking into improving security as a matter of urgency.

The survey found that 18 per cent of businesses that regularly use smartphones to transfer and store private data have not invested in the technology that allows lost or stolen phones to be locked or to have their on-board memory erased remotely. 38 per cent said that password protection was the only layer of security that protects portable devices such as laptops and smartphones.

The report shows that in half of all UK SMBs, IT management is controlled internally and there is a sense that many are unwilling to look to third party experts in order to ensure total data loss prevention and security.

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