Unsafe Web Surfing Gets Small Biz in Trouble: Are You Doing It Right?

How safe are you when browsing online?

A new survey from online security firm GFI Software found that 40 percent of small and mid-sized businesses have suffered a security breach because of unsafe web surfing. Since just about every business uses the Internet in some shape or form, Internet and website security are two things to which business need to pay attention.

“[Surfing the web] cannot be without adequate protection,” said Phil Bousfield, General Manager of the GFI Infrastructure Business Unit.”There can be catastrophic losses if customers feel that they have been compromised.”

Bousfield also said that sometimes, a security breach isn’t something that you’d know about right away. It may only be noticed when the computer starts to run a little more slowly, or when hard drives and data start to get damaged.

“We can predict if a website will be malicious,” said David Attard, Product Manager for GFI Software. “95 percent of new websites are spam or malicious, and are offline within a week. We block those sites and prevent you from going there.”

An interesting finding in this survey is that 55 percent of SMBs that use a web monitoring solution indicate that defense against infected websites is not their main priority. The main priority is to keep employees from surfing the web all day.

“The Internet is a time sink,” Bousfield said. “Companies don’t want their employees doing something that’s not in the company’s interest. They don’t want them going to morally questionable sites.”

GFI produces a variety of apps that do everything from email security and archiving, to data backup and network service monitoring. GFI’s WebMonitor would allow businesses to classify websites, such as pornography and gambling sites, along with those malicious sites as places that they don’t want employees going to. Essentially, this tool can allow the employer to set Internet policy, and enforce it.

“These are the utilities necessary to have a successful small business,” said Bousfield. “Small businesses don’t want enterprise-level complexity, but they do want enterprise-level protection.”

Other key findings from the survey include:

  • Nearly one in three (27.5%) of SMBs do not have a policy in place to govern employee use of social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
  • 16% of SMBs have a social networking use policy, but have no way of monitoring whether employees are adhering to it.
  • 42.5% of respondents do not have a solution in place that measures the safeness of a given website based on a rating of its reputation, but 27% say this is a capability they would be interested in.
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Allison Midori Reilly is the CEO and Founder of Stirring Media, LLC. Stirring Media, LLC is a content marketing and news production firm that provides content marketing and business blogging services to the small business market. Prior to that, she was a freelance writer, who was published in over a dozen print and online publications, such as Smallbiztechnology.com, American City & County, Ideabing.com, Transport Topics and St. Louis Commerce Magazine. In her spare time, Reilly is an active member of Amnesty International as well as an avid poker player.

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3 thoughts on “Unsafe Web Surfing Gets Small Biz in Trouble: Are You Doing It Right?

  1. Anonymous

    Allison,  your timing on this couldn’t be more perfect. It’s National Cyber Security Awareness Month, so naturally we’ve been talking about web threats quite a bit as of late here at Symantec. While web surfing is a part of everyday life for most SMBs, it can sometimes do more harm than good if the business is unknowingly infiltrated by web-born malware. We often tell our small business customers that an easy way to detect whether a website is safe is to check for a trust seal with malware scanning from a trusted authority.  SMBs can get these on their websites too so shoppers and other visitors feel more at ease while surfing their own site. The following blog post offers more detail: http://bit.ly/pTrjWE.
    Chris Halcon

  2. Carolyn Jett

    I’m very passionate about online security especially after I had a bad experience a couple of years ago. I’ve found a new security application that I’d like to share with you. Please post here that you’re interested in learning more.


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