2012 Outlook – Symantec’s predictions for SMBs

InformationWeek News Network, December 14, 2011

Virtualization will be at the top of the list for many SMBs in 2012, says Symantec

SMBs will head to the cloud

Cloud computing today has captured the attention of organizations of all sizes alike, as a technology that offers lower operational expenses, scalability and mobility among other benefits. SMBs in particular, are increasingly becoming aware of emerging technologies, as they struggle to secure their IT infrastructure and better manage their data and storage needs. According to the Symantec 2011 State of Cloud Survey, Indian organizations are conflicted about security – rating it both as a top goal and as a top concern with moving to the cloud. 87 percent of the respondents are confident that moving to the cloud will not impact or will actually improve their security.

Cloud security services such as e-mail security and web filtering technology allows SMBs to get enterprise-class security as a service that is always up-to-date on the latest threats. Many organizations are talking about moving to the cloud, with almost 80 percent at least discussing all forms of cloud. 82 percent of Indian organizations have adopted or are adopting some sort of cloud service, with security services leading the wall.

SMBs will need to implement their DR plans

In 2011, there were significantly more natural disasters than previous years. Yet, Indian SMBs are ill prepared to handle disasters. The Symantec 2011 SMB Disaster Preparedness Survey revealed that 68 of the respondents did not have a plan in place.  Around 50 percent said that it never occurred to them to put together a plan and 17 percent stated that disaster preparedness is not a priority for them.

Organizations who suffered downtime, required corporate spin doctors and dedicated technical efforts to repair their damaged reputations. In 2012, the likelihood that organizations will need to implement their DR plans is greater than ever before and organizations will understand the need to recover faster by automating the recovery process.

Virtualization and SMBs  

Virtualization is at the top of the list for many SMBs. It is no longer just an enterprise technology and is increasingly being adopted by SMB organizations. In 2011, many SMBs resorted to taking shortcuts to protect information in physical and virtual environments. Next year could see some failures in the recovery of information if SMBs don’t implement a holistic backup solution addressing physical and virtual environments.  Symantec’s recent ‘Backup in virtual environments’ flash poll revealed that only 15 percent always backup virtual servers, and when respondents were asked to name the types of challenges they face in implementing virtualization, 56 percent reported backup as a challenge.

Standardizing on a single platform, implementing automated and centralized monitoring, protecting data and implementing granular recovery are some of the simple steps organizations can take to centralize backup and recovery of their physical and virtual server environments.

SMBs will start taking steps to protect business from cyber threats

For many, 2011 will be recalled as the year of the data breach as companies of all sizes made headlines for losing valuable data. Small businesses were no exception as cybercriminals found SMBs as a new favorite target. Looking forward, the threat landscape won’t be getting any better but Symantec foresees 2012 as a year of action for SMBs where they’ll start taking tangible steps to protect their businesses from the threats they face.

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