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Almost half of NZ businesses unprepared for data breaches - HP

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

An HP study, released today, revealed that 45% of New Zealand businesses rate themselves as not secure on both managing security from different endpoints and protecting company data when employees are working remotely. Only 50% of businesses feel any confidence that they would cope if their business experienced a significant cyber security breach.

The HP New Zealand IT Security Study, conducted in September 2018, surveyed 434 New Zealand small to large businesses across the services, production, retail and hospitality, health and education, and distribution industries. A key objective of the research was to identify New Zealand SMBs’ approach to IT security, including policies, procedures and risk management and where their perceived weaknesses exist.

"The consequences of a data breach are severe; from financial to brand and reputation damage," said Grant Hopkins, Managing Director at HP New Zealand. "Organisations need to be vigilant about implementing processes that regularly monitor, detect and report data breaches. Running regular risk assessments and managing your endpoint security is critical in keeping businesses data safe."

As more New Zealanders work remotely, use personal devices in the workplace, and work in public spaces, traditional security measures and antivirus programs are becoming less effective. Sixty percent of businesses regularly allow remote working (and remote access to company data) but only 42% of them have a security policy in place. Furthermore, while visual hacking represented the area of greatest perceived weakness, only one in five businesses have integrated privacy screens on desktops/laptops to protect this type of breach. There are security features at a device level that can help, such as HP Sure View, which is an integrated PC privacy screen that offers protection against visual hacking.

Many IT departments tend to focus their efforts around PCs, tablets and other connected devices, but they neglect one of the largest areas of vulnerability: the printer. The study found that New Zealand businesses have printers that are relatively insecure with 30% not offering any security features and only 35% of businesses including printers in their IT security assessment.

Without embedded security measures like real-time threat detection, automated monitoring, and data encryption, printers are left open and vulnerable to attack. Not only does this make the confidential and sensitive documents that are printed, scanned and copied by the printer easily accessible for hackers, but risks the entire network being hacked, while bypassing the firewall altogether.

"Endpoint security - at the device level - is critical. Organisations tend to rely solely on third party software security to protect their devices when, in reality, stronger and better business security must be integrated into the device itself," said Grant. "With hackers able to bypass traditional network perimeter security and antivirus programs, it’s time we scrutinise a hardware’s security as closely, if not more, than our external security solutions."

Today’s SMBs must implement processes and technologies designed to both proactively detect and prevent against a cyber attack. An antivirus product only protects from malware running in the Operating System (OS). There are many other threats and security risks to a PC, for example those that aim to modify Boot-time or Runtime firmware. HP’s industry-leading set of security solutions are focused on protecting not only the device, but the user’s identity and data security.

"Security threats are evolving every day. Due to reduced effectiveness of firewall protection, every device on an organisation’s network is at risk, and unfortunately printing and imaging devices are often overlooked and left exposed," said Grant. "Protecting against security breaches is one of the biggest challenges organisations face. HP is determined to push the industry forward - building security solutions at the device level to help fend off data breaches, such as HP Sure Start in our enterprise printers, which enables detection of and self-healing recovery from malicious BIOS attacks."

With the universe of connected devices growing exponentially, so is the sophistication and volume of cyber attacks and data breaches that can cause acute harm to businesses and people alike. The increasingly complex landscape makes securing devices, data and identities essential to preserving the trust and confidence people have in technology and the companies they choose to connect with.

Methodology

The research was conducted by Perceptive on behalf of HPNZ. The survey engaged 434 decision makers of New Zealand businesses; these were divided into two segments: SMBs (less than 20 employees) and mid to large enterprises (20+ employees). The research was conducted in September 2018. Participants were distributed across the services, production, retail and hospitality, health and education, construction, and distribution sectors.

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