McAfee Inc. has today announced the findings of new research which reveals that, as far as European small and medium businesses are concerned, size does matter when it comes to security and risk.

Having sampled more than 600 IT decision makers from small and medium sized businesses across Europe, McAfee's 'Does Size Matter? The Security Challenge of the SMB' report highlights a worrying gap between perception and reality when it comes to security issues.

Just look at the key statistics:

  • 47% think cyber crime was an issue for larger organisations only
  • 45% believe being not particularly well known means they are not at risk
  • 58% consider themselves not a 'valuable target' in the eyes of cyber criminals
  • 56% say they cannot make a cyber criminal any money
  • 73% admit that online availability is critical to the business
  • 58% are not concerned about becoming a victim of cyber crime
  • 28% only spend an hour a week on proactive IT security management
  • 19% acknowledge an attack might put them out of business
  • 90% say they are adequately protected from attack
  • 36% admit to accepting hardware and software default settings

"We know that cyber criminals don't discriminate, to them size doesn't matter," said Greg Day, Senior Security Analyst, McAfee. "Every SMB, even very small ones, will have customer details or financial information that will be of use to a cyber criminal.

McAfee's message to SMBs would appear to be very clear, that size really doesn't matter. Whatever the size of business there is a value to be squeezed from it by the cyber criminal, be that in terms of data or resources compromised. SMBs can fall victim to viruses, hacker intrusions, spyware and spam just as easily as the bigger corporate, and the consequences can be even harsher at the smaller end of the business scale. Stolen data, computer downtime, decreased productivity, lack of compliance, loss of sales and reputation are hard to recover from for any company, but the small guy might find it impossible. So perhaps size does matter after all.