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Steve Cullen, Symantec: Surprising Number Of Small Businesses Not Protecting Data on Virtualized Servers

August 28, 2011

Small businesses have a strong interest in virtualization, but are still learning how to adopt it in their organizations. As they implement server virtualization, small businesses are putting their data at risk. The survey found that most small businesses arenít taking the most basic steps to secure and protect their virtual environments. The survey is based on 658 respondents in 28 countries worldwide.

2011 Small Business Virtualization Poll PDF

ďDespite what you may think, small businesses are evaluating how virtualization can benefit their organizations. Weíre still early in the adoption cycle, but virtualization enables small businesses to reduce expenses and meet the increasing demands for greater productivity and efficiency, said Steve Cullen, senior vice president, Strategy and Marketing, Symantec Corp.ď However, whether or not small businesses are ready to make the transition to virtualized technologies, itís critical that they always secure and protect their data no matter what type of environments they have.Ē

Survey Highlights

  • Financial Benefits Driving Decision to Virtualize. Seventy percent of respondents said their organizations are considering virtualization. Not surprisingly, financial benefits rank highest among reasons to adopt server virtualization. Reduced capital expense was cited by 70 percent, while 68 percent said reduced operating expense would drive their decisions to deploy virtualization. Other benefits include the ability to use fewer servers for the same number of applications (67 percent) and improved server scalability (65 percent).
  • Limited IT Skills Holding Some Small Businesses Back. Despite their interest, small businesses are finding it difficult to move from discussions to execution. Only 10 percent of respondents have deployed virtualized servers and they are focusing their early-stage efforts on simpler, less critical application areas. Top challenges include performance (60 percent), backup (56 percent), and security and patch management (56 percent). Nearly a third of small businesses not now planning virtualization cited lack of experience as a factor.
  • Data on Virtualized Servers Lacking Basic Security Protection. As small businesses move to virtual environments, they do not protect and secure their data. Only 15 percent always back up their virtualized servers and 23 percent backup infrequently or not at all. They arenít doing any better in securing their data Ėonly 40 percent are completely secured. Respondents say budget and staffing issues are preventing them from taking these essential actions. Even those who said they are somewhat or completely secure are, in fact, less secure than they think. A staggering 78 percent donít have antivirus on their virtual servers, 48 percent donít have a firewall, and 74 percent forego endpoint protection.

Recommendations

Fortunately there are some simple things small businesses can do to make sure they are properly protecting their data and systems:

  • Define a virtualization strategy: Work with an IT consultant to develop a strategy. Proactively develop guidelines and assess your data protection and security needs. Determine if moving to these cloud services are right for you. Once you have a strategy, develop a plan and stick to it.
  • Secure your virtual environments: Consider what security solutions you need to secure your virtual environment, including a firewall, antivirus, and endpoint security. Make sure you have established security practices as an additional layer of protection.
  • Protect your data: Have a simplified approach to backup. Implement a solution that protects both physical and virtual environments. Consider a data deduplication solution to save space and time.

Symantecís Small Business Virtualization Poll

Symantecís Small Business Poll is the result of research conducted in May 2011 by Applied Research, which surveyed IT professionals responsible for managing computer resources at small businesses with between 5 and 249 employees. The survey was designed to gauge how small businesses are embracing virtualization. The survey included 658 respondents in 28 countries in North America, EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa), Asia Pacific, and Latin America.

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