Survey Data Illustrates Worrying Cybersecurity Trends for SMBs

“… the survey data suggests that cyberattacks have increased dramatically compared to a base year of 2016: in the US, attacks shot up from 55 percent to 76 percent over that period.”

Survey Data Illustrates Worrying Cybersecurity Trends for SMBs

New survey research from the Ponemon Institute is further illustrating the rise of digital security threats and conflicting attitudes about security among small and medium-sized businesses.

The findings come by way of a new report based on surveys of 2,391 “IT and IT security practitioners” across the US, the UK, and several European countries – Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. All told, the survey data suggests that cyberattacks have increased dramatically compared to a base year of 2016: in the US, attacks shot up from 55 percent to 76 percent over that period. The most common result of these attacks is the loss of sensitive data, with 69 percent of US businesses reporting such an outcome, compared to 50 percent in 2016.

Peering into the security postures and attitudes the organizations polled, there appears to be a lot of confusion. Even though 76 percent of American companies had suffered a cyberattack in the past 12 months, American respondents were “more confident in their in-house security expertise than any othe region”, according to a report summary.

More broadly, about half of all respondents (48 percent) said they access over 50 percent of their business-critical apps through mobile devices, but about the same proportion of respondents (49 percent) said that using mobile devices to access such applications “diminishes their organization’s security posture.” Likewise, only 21 percent “monitor the risk of IoT devices in the workplace,” yet 80 percent said “it’s likely that a security incident related to unsecured IoT devices could be catastrophic”.

Fortunately, there are signs of more positive trends in some of the survey data. The Ponemon Institute says that its study “suggests biometrics may be becoming mainstream”, noting that three quarters of the SMBs polled “currently use biometrics to identify and authenticate or have plans to do so soon.” To be clear, in leading this trend, the Benelux region found only 51 percent of respondents saying that their organizations currently use biometric authentication security, so there is still a way to go in seeing such practices become widespread – but with a growing number of effective solutions now on the market, there’s good reason to believe that the trend toward this more effective security paradigm could accelerate.