Jobcuts and cutbacks in spending on IT are leaving many firms more vulnerable than ever to attack from internal and external sources, hi-tech experts say.
With the recession forcing many SMEs to strategically review how they spend their IT budgets, investment in security may not be seen as a priority.
But according to Ian Callens, of Birmingham IT service and support provider Icomm Technologies, the downturn will inevitably lead to an increase in security threats, especially from the inside.
This view is supported by industry analysts such as Gartner who predicted that IT budgets would drop by as much as 2.5 per cent in 2009, resulting in substantially less outlay on security – a decision businesses may later come to regret.
With some businesses left with no choice but to reduce staff numbers in order to keep afloat during the current turbulent economic period, there can be the possibility of threats being made to security from outgoing workers, Mr Callens said.
He said: “At a time when SMEs are looking to cut costs wherever possible, it is more important than ever to invest in securing your company network.
“Disgruntled workers may feel an overwhelming sense of injustice at their fate and seek retribution on their recently-parted employers through malicious attacks.
“SMEs without IT departments may also have empowered certain employees with looking after particular IT tasks. If these employees are let go this will also leave SMEs in a vulnerable position.”
SMEs should take the necessary steps to protect their operating systems and plan in advance for potential IT disasters enforced by the redundant workforce or other malicious threats, he said.
“It should be considered best practice for SMEs to view their business security seriously from all angles.
“SMEs should be safe in the knowledge that regular back-ups, anti-virus and malware updates are made so that the loss of an employee will not affect day-to-day operations.”