A new Maritz Poll highlights the relationship between productivity and security. The Poll, which surveyed IT managers in small and medium businesses, attempts to reveal the repercussions of computer viruses and other security problems and their correlation to downtime on the job. Of those surveyed, nearly all (92 percent) reported that computer performance levels were affected by up to 50 percent due to security issues.

According to the poll, some of the security issues presented affecting productivity include:

— 75 percent of small and medium businesses were hit by at least one
virus, with some affected over 100 times, in the past year.
— 40 percent of respondents have been hit by hackers at least once, with
some targeted more than 200 times, in the past year.

This is compounded by the common knowledge that virtually every computer with Internet access is assaulted with a barrage of adware, spyware and spam daily.

Despite these serious security and spam issues and the obvious reduction in employee productivity some respondents still are not defending themselves against potential threats:
— 29 percent don’t use anti-spam software.
— 34 percent don’t use spyware software.
— 4 percent don’t use anti-virus software.
— 47 percent don’t use adware software.
— 9 percent don’t have Internet firewalls.

While many small and medium businesses do utilize protective software, many are not doing all they can to stay protected and maintain employee productivity. For example:

— Nearly 10 percent do not automatically update their anti-virus
— Only 23 percent of those that are updating it manually are doing so
— Only 82 percent plan to invest in anti-virus software in 2005.

These poll results certainly make me appreciate an IT Department that implements antispam, antivirus, and antispyware solutions that ensure that my computer and the data on it is protected. Without it, my job would be a heck of a lot harder.

Laurie Murrell
Communications Manager

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