More than 90 per cent of UK SMEs are being put at risk of technological meltdown by poor management on the part their IT service provider, research has found.
A study conducted by VAR The Internet Group (TIG) of 100 firms with between 10 and 250 employees found 92 per cent were suffering from their IT not being managed or configured correctly. TIG attributes this, in part, to SMEs' lack of IT savvy which led them to opt for unscrupulous or unqualified managed service providers (MSP).
The survey finds 93 per cent of SMEs have no current network documentation while 91 per cent did not consider data leakage as a threat to their business. Web usage was not restricted or monitored at 87 per cent of firms while 85 per cent of servers had errors that had been present more than three months.
Staff were able to access sensitive company information at four-fifths of respondents, 72 per cent were unaware they were running out of disk space and 61 per cent of networks contained illegal files or software. The Administrator Password to their own network was unknown by 58 per cent of business owners, while 57 per cent of servers had not been updated with current Microsoft fixes for upwards of six months.
TIG conducted its study over a period of 18 months and all companies surveyed were privately owned limited businesses. The reseller conducted a full audit of companies' IT networks and provided each with a detailed review of its systems.
TIG based its reviews on the impact IT had on the business, as well as how the infrastructure compared to the relevant vendor's best practice guidelines. Some of the most noteworthy examples of bad practice found included a complete server farm with no anti-virus and a worker running an eBay business from his firm's offices.
The survey found 39 per cent of SMEs' domain names were incorrectly registered, with many registered to the IT provider and not the business. Windows Servers were incorrectly configured at 38 per cent of firms, 35 per cent did not ensure their backup was working on a regular basis and 32 per cent had unrestricted wireless.
About a quarter of PCs had 256MB or less of RAM and 16 per cent of respondents were being sold desktops as servers. Firewalls were absent at 14 per cent of businesses and nine per cent of PCs were still running Windows 2000.
TIG estimates that the average UK SME loses about £2,100 a year on IT services and products that they do not require or those that are badly configured. The survey found that none of the 100 firms audited received weekly or monthly reports from their IT service provider updating them on their IT's performance.
The closing section of the report reads: "Without a governing body to enforce standards within the IT industry, this problem does not seem to be going away any time soon. Our only hope is that these companies find out how bad their providers are before it is too late. Our recommendation is that before you consider engaging a new supplier, check their references and check what accreditations they have and also what associations they have."
Chris Bunch of Microsoft partner Cloudreach gives his take on this year's Inspire conference
We pull out the key information from Big Blue's quarterly results
Telford-based firm moves into the Nordics with Getac
Desktop 3D printer shipments see first ever year-on-year decline