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Source: XTVWorld.com

Posted on October 25, 2006

      Steven Woodruff, 15 year IT veteran and CVO of technology service firm ITEK Networks, Inc. (iteknetworks.com) was reading a study recently completed by a US government security agency when he came across some statistics so alarming, he felt every business owner needed to know about them. Being in the business of providing computer security services to small businesses and a business owner himself, Mr. Woodruff was particularly troubled by this information.

      The study states that nearly 9 out of 10 organizations experienced computer security incidents in 2005. What's worse, over 20% of organizations indicated they have experienced 20 or more attacks. Research shows that the average cost to clean infected computers is about $265 per user. Add to that employee downtime of 2 hours per incident. The cost of cleaning up after such an attack can easily run into the tens of thousands depending on the size of the company.

      Take the following example - with an average payroll cost per employee of $30/hour the cost per incident to the business would be $325 per employee ($265 + $60), so a business with fifty employees would incur a total visible cost of $16,250. In actuality, that number is only a fraction of the total because hidden costs and losses such as lost sales and opportunities have not been factored in.

      It can be difficult for a business to project the cost of such an incident because it's easy to miss something in the calculation. To make the task easier, ITEK Networks offers a free and easy to use cost calculator which, by answering some simple questions, will produce a formatted report that can be emailed to the user. The calculator can be found at eventcalc.com. So, what should businesses do to prevent their systems from falling prey?

      Mr. Woodruff suggests taking a step-by-step approach to attack the problem. "Most small businesses have different security software on each computer - often, whatever the computer came with as a trial" says Mr. Woodruff. "Start by taking inventory of what you have installed. Include Antivirus, Anti-Spyware, desktop Firewall and any other related software; also include any hardware firewalls or server software that falls into any of these categories. Once you know what you have, you will need to choose what products you want to keep and what to remove. The objective here is to choose a range of applications that play well together and provide a complete solution. Once you have chosen your products, you can start to enforce some consistency across the business which will make managing your desktop security much easier."

      Probably the most important thing for business owners to keep in mind is that all of these technologies require maintenance and updates to remain effective. There are new security threats emerging every day so keeping security software up to date is essential. Every business should either assign someone to keep all the software updated or look at outsourcing the work to a service provider that specializes in computer and network security.

      There are several great resources on the web for information on security alerts and updates. One such resource is desktopsecuritynews.com which offers a free whitepaper, "10 Steps to Controlling Desktop Security in Your Business," and free weekly newsletter with articles on computer security and other related topics.

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