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March 07, 2008

CompTIA: Spyware Infections Carry Big Costs for Small Businesses

Spyware is no longer an unwanted irritation sitting in your computer and spying on your online activities. It has the potential to disrupt work and cause financial losses to organizations. A research report commissioned by the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA (News - Alert)) states that a single spyware infection on a work computer can impact the productivity of the typical small business employee for two-and-a-half days.

CompTIA commissioned Kotler Marketing Group of Washington, D.C. ( to conduct the survey to better understand the frequency and cost of problems such as spyware, viruses and network and server downtime among small businesses. Kotler Marketing Group is a consulting firm specializing in value-based selling.
In late 2007, the company conducted two separate online surveys. One survey was conducted among 200 IT professionals who support small and mid-sized businesses. Another survey was conducted among 537 end users who work in non-IT roles at small and mid-sized businesses in the financial services, healthcare, manufacturing, and professional services industries. Respondents were from North America, where approximately 80 percent where based in United States and 20 percent in Canada.
The survey discovered that businesses with 10 to 200 computer users suffered because of Spyware attacks as employees did not report the matter to the concerned departments. More than one in four computer users reported having their productivity impacted by a spyware infection during the past six months. In fact, more than one-third users reported that their computer was infected with multiple spyware detections.
Often, people delayed reporting the matter to the concerned department for more than 18 hours. The survey estimated that the productivity of the users was reduced by 21 percent when the spyware problem was first noticed; and was reduced by 32 percent when the problem was at its peak.
Once the matter is reported, fixing of the problem causes further delays. It is reported that PC-support professionals spend an average of 2.8 labor hours per infected PC. That’s more than 20 hours of reduced worker productivity for each spyware incident at a small business.
Raju Shanbhag is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To see more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.
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