News | August 26, 2011

Symantec Survey Finds Surprising Number Of Small Businesses Not Protecting Data On Virtualized Servers

Symantec Corp. recently announced the findings of its 2011 Small Business Virtualization Poll which examined the adoption of virtualization within small businesses and its impact on their organizations. According to the survey, small businesses have a strong interest in virtualization, but are still learning how to adopt it in their organizations. As they implement server virtualization, small businesses are putting their data at risk. The survey found that most small businesses aren't taking the most basic steps to secure and protect their virtual environments. The survey is based on 658 respondents in 28 countries worldwide.

"Despite what you may think, small businesses are evaluating how virtualization can benefit their organizations. We're still early in the adoption cycle, but virtualization enables small businesses to reduce expenses and meet the increasing demands for greater productivity and efficiency, said Steve Cullen, senior vice president, Strategy and Marketing, Symantec Corp. "However, whether or not small businesses are ready to make the transition to virtualized technologies, it's critical that they always secure and protect their data no matter what type of environments they have."

Survey Highlights

  • Financial Benefits Driving Decision to Virtualize. Seventy percent of respondents said their organizations are considering virtualization. Not surprisingly, financial benefits rank highest among reasons to adopt server virtualization. Reduced capital expense was cited by 70 percent, while 68 percent said reduced operating expense would drive their decisions to deploy virtualization. Other benefits include the ability to use fewer servers for the same number of applications (67 percent) and improved server scalability (65 percent).
  • Limited IT Skills Holding Some Small Businesses Back. Despite their interest, small businesses are finding it difficult to move from discussions to execution. Only 10 percent of respondents have deployed virtualized servers and they are focusing their early-stage efforts on simpler, less critical application areas. Top challenges include performance (60 percent), backup (56 percent), and security and patch management (56 percent). Nearly a third of small businesses not now planning virtualization cited lack of experience as a factor.
  • Data on Virtualized Servers Lacking Basic Security Protection. As small businesses move to virtual environments, they do not protect and secure their data. Only 15 percent always back up their virtualized servers and 23 percent backup infrequently or not at all. They aren't doing any better in securing their data –only 40 percent are completely secured. Respondents say budget and staffing issues are preventing them from taking these essential actions. Even those who said they are somewhat or completely secure are, in fact, less secure than they think. A staggering 78 percent don't have antivirus on their virtual servers, 48 percent don't have a firewall, and 74 percent forego endpoint protection.

Recommendations
Fortunately there are some simple things small businesses can do to make sure they are properly protecting their data and systems:

  • Define a virtualization strategy: Work with an IT consultant to develop a strategy. Proactively develop guidelines and assess your data protection and security needs. Determine if moving to these cloud services are right for you. Once you have a strategy, develop a plan and stick to it.
  • Secure your virtual environments: Consider what security solutions you need to secure your virtual environment, including a firewall, antivirus, and endpoint security. Make sure you have established security practices as an additional layer of protection.
  • Protect your data: Have a simplified approach to backup. Implement a solution that protects both physical and virtual environments. Consider a data deduplication solution to save space and time.

Symantec's Small Business Virtualization Poll
Symantec's Small Business Poll is the result of research conducted in May 2011 by Applied Research, which surveyed IT professionals responsible for managing computer resources at small businesses with between 5 and 249 employees. The survey was designed to gauge how small businesses are embracing virtualization. The survey included 658 respondents in 28 countries in North America, EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa), Asia Pacific, and Latin America.

Resources

  • Symantec 2011 Small Business Virtualization Poll Report
  • Infographic: Are Small Businesses Ready to Virtualize?
  • Slideshare Presentation: Symantec 2011 Small Business Virtualization Poll Global Findings August 2011

About Symantec
Symantec is a global leader in providing security, storage and systems management solutions to help consumers and organizations secure and manage their information-driven world. Our software and services protect against more risks at more points, more completely and efficiently, enabling confidence wherever information is used or stored. For more information, visit www.symantec.com.

SOURCE: Symantec Corp.

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