Information sprawl requires a robust malware solution

Symantec logo resized 600Symantec’s recent 2012 State of Information Report is jam-packed with warnings and advice for the small- or medium-sized business, but perhaps the most important of these is the news that almost half of all business data is currently being stored outside company firewalls. This renders it far more vulnerable to attack by spyware, Trojans, worms, bots, and other forms of malware.

SMBs are particularly vulnerable on this front, with 53% of their data residing outside company firewall protection. This situation is due to the fact that SMBs tend to have a greater proportion of their information stored on mobile devices including laptops, tablet computers, and even mobile phones, some of which may be employee- rather than business-owned.

The proliferation of data away from central servers and data centers is referred to as “information sprawl.” It represents a major challenge in the area of computer safety since managing malware protection on many individual smaller computing devices can be significantly more complex than a centralized, server-based approach.

Nevertheless, a mobile computing paradigm offers such outstanding advantages in terms of cost effectiveness and employee efficiency that it is well worth the extra effort required to secure these devices against malware threats. Robust data protection for today’s SMBs requires a company-wide strategy that takes into account the diverse nature of the computing devices in use.

The U.S. business climate currently reflects a good understanding of this need. According to Symantec group president Francis deSouza: “Businesses are undergoing a transformation unlike anything we’ve seen before. With mobile devices and cloud giving employees access to information from nearly anywhere, we’re also seeing more sensitive information living beyond the traditional IT boundaries. This is creating concern about how to best protect this information.” DeSouza specializes in computer security services and products for business entities.

Malware is not the only danger that results from the problematic combination of information sprawl and insufficient data protection. More than a third of businesses have had concerns about the exposure of confidential data when mobile devices were stolen or lost.

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