GFI Software Survey: 40% of SMBs Have Suffered a Security Breach Due to Unsafe Web Surfing

October 12, 2011 - 12:00

Nearly one-third still do not have a policy to govern the use of social networking sites

GFI Software today announced the findings of a new survey that reveal small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) have inadequate IT security solutions and employee Internet usage policies to defend their operations against malicious websites and other online threats. The survey of 200 U.S.-based IT decision makers at organizations with between five and 249 employees was fielded by noted polling expert Opinion Matters, between Sept. 29 and Oct. 4, 2011.

The survey was commissioned to understand the web monitoring and web filtering practices of SMBs. Survey results show that two in five SMBs know with certainty that they have suffered some sort of security breach as a result of employees navigating to websites that host malware, infected downloads or have been corrupted by malicious code.

Interestingly, the results also show that even in the face of such infections, a majority of web monitoring software users do not cite defense of their network as the main driver for deploying such a solution. 24% of all respondents use it mainly to ensure employee productivity; 13.5% to conserve network bandwidth and speed; and 11.5% to prevent employees from visiting inappropriate sites. 11.5% of all respondents do not use web monitoring or filtering software at all. 

Key findings from the survey include:

  • 40% of SMBs have experienced a security breach resulting from employees navigating to a site that hosted malware. 
  • 55% of SMBs that use a web monitoring solution indicate that defense against infected websites is not their main priority.
  • 70% of those not using web monitoring or filtering software claim that web use is not a problem in their organization.
  • Nearly one in three (27.5%) of SMBs do not have a policy in place to govern employee use of social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
  • 16% of SMBs have a social networking use policy, but have no way of monitoring whether employees are adhering to it.
  • 42.5% of respondents do not have a solution in place that measures the safeness of a given website based on a rating of its reputation, but 27% say this is a capability they would be interested in.

“The survey results indicate a lack of awareness about the full capabilities of web monitoring software and how these solutions are evolving into critical components of effective SMB network security practices,” said Phil Bousfield, general manager, Infrastructure Business Unit, GFI Software. “Protecting the network from malicious websites and downloads should be a top priority for IT managers in addition to concerns over employee productivity and bandwidth management. Web monitoring solutions that equip IT administrators with an additional layer of network defense against online threats and provide employees with the tools they need to make better, safer decisions while online go a long way in helping SMBs balance the benefits of Internet access with the risks it creates.”

The full results of the survey are available from GFI upon request.

GFI also announced today that GFI WebMonitor, a robust web monitoring, filtering and security solution, now includes several new security and anti-malware features that enable SMBs to provide Internet access without constraints and without sacrificing network protection (see: “GFI WebMonitor Strengthens SMB Defenses Against Online Threats with New Security Features”).

To learn about GFI WebMonitor, call 888-243-4329, email or visit

About GFI
GFI Software provides web and mail security, archiving, backup and fax, networking and security software and hosted IT solutions for small and medium-size businesses (SMBs) via an extensive global partner community. GFI products are available either as on-premise solutions, in the cloud or as a hybrid of both delivery models. With award-winning technology, a competitive pricing strategy, and a strong focus on the unique requirements of SMBs, GFI satisfies the IT needs of organizations on a global scale. The company has offices in the United States (North Carolina, California and Florida), UK (London and Dundee), Austria, Australia, Malta, Hong Kong, Philippines and Romania, which together support hundreds of thousands of installations worldwide. GFI is a channel-focused company with thousands of partners throughout the world and is also a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner.