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November 2, 2011

More than third of UK firms using social networking for their business: AVG

Facebook most used compared to LinkedIn and Twitter

By CBR Staff Writer

With increasing social networking for business purposes, more than a third of small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) (34%) in the UK and US are using social networking in their business, according to AVG’s new SMB Market Landscape Report.

Facebook is the most popular of these, with 30% of SMBs claiming to have a profile or page in it, followed by 19% for LinkedIn and 17% for Twitter, the report said.

According to the AVG report, the most likely uses of social networking in business are for customer engagement and to share company/product information.

The latest tablet and social networking technologies are being embraced by small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) for greater employee mobility and more personalised customer engagement yet very few are aware of the accompanying security risks.

The AVG report said 10% of SMBs are using tablets while more than a third (34%) are using social networking for business, and it showed that only a quarter (27%) of SMBs view the use of mobile phones in business as a threat to IT security.

Overall, IT security breaches do occur regularly (17% reported experiencing a breach in the past year) and account for an average of 3-4 days labour to fix, the report revealed.

The report said that there is an increase in mobile working, with one in five SMBs (19%) are employing Android smartphones; an equal proportion to use BlackBerry phones and employees spend an average of one day a week (20% of their time) working away from the office.

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However, the report indicated that very few SMBs were currently using antivirus or internet security for Smartphones (16%) or offerings for mobile workers (2%).

SMBs are still most concerned about more traditional sources of threat, such as email and web viruses comprising 81% and 68%, respectively.

With respect to new technology around two-thirds (64%) were not concerned about mobile malware/viruses, while around one in six (16%) are worried about the theft of their data stored in the cloud, the report added.

One in six SMBs (17%) reported having experienced a security breach in the past year, with more physical breaches from computers slowing down (83%), to losing access to files (39%) or programmes (31%) than psychological such as loss of customer data or business reputation.

A total of 30 million man hours lost to rectifying issues related to security breaches in the past 12 months, while £1.18m (average £990 per business) in the UK and $5.6m (average $1570 per business) in the US were spent on replacing hardware during the same period.

UK lost £2.19m (average £2800 per business) and the US lost $11.30m (average $4800 per business) in revenue opportunities during the past 12 months.

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