A survey of almost 4,000 small businesses conducted by Sophos
has revealed that while small firms are waking up to the need for
anti-virus software, their investment is wasted by a failure to
keep systems up-to-date.
Sophos questioned 3,731 small businesses in January-April 2004,
asking them about their experiences in dealing with viruses and
spam. 87% of respondents confirmed that they had anti-virus
measures in place, but a staggering 63% were not updating their
anti-virus software in a timely manner to protect against the
latest fast-spreading threats.
"With new viruses able to spread around the internet in a matter
of hours, it is no longer effective to only apply anti-virus
updates on a daily or less frequent basis," said Graham Cluley,
senior technology consultant at Sophos. "It's obviously good that
companies are deploying anti-virus protection, but they are pouring
their money down the drain if the protection is not frequently
updated. Effective anti-virus protection includes the ability to
poll automatically for security updates on an hourly basis, with
updates rolled out without any user disruption."
Spam is similarly causing headaches for small businesses. 80%
revealed that the flood of spam arriving in their email inboxes
made them less productive. However, a shocking 72% admitted that
they had no anti-spam protection in place.
"Small businesses realise they are feeling the pain of spam, but
most are doing nothing to prevent it," continued Cluley. "It seems
bizarre that so many companies are suffering from spam every day,
but taking no measures to protect themselves. It's possible some of
these companies have had bad experiences of anti-spam products in
the past, and don't realise that effective solutions are
With the growing convergence of spam and viruses, Sophos
recommends that small businesses introduce a consolidated defence
against the virus and spam threat. The Sophos Small Business Suite
provides full protection against today's virus and spam threats at
all points of entry. Comprised in this suite are the Sophos PureMessage Small Business Edition,
which combines award-winning virus and spam protection for the
email gateway, and Sophos Anti-Virus
Small Business Edition, which offers a comprehensive desktop
and server defence against the virus threat.