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Anxiety about computer breakdown is more likely to keep small business owners awake at night than heavy workloads and long hours, research by YouGov and Internet security firm “Trend Micro has found.  Some 42 per cent of small firms surveyed admitted that technology breakdown is their greatest cause of operational concern. The same number cited difficult clients and suppliers as their number one cause of anxiety.

But fewer than one in three businesses regarded heavy workloads as their biggest worry, and just one in five were most concerned about long hours.

Surprisingly, fewer businesses expressed concern about specific issues relating to technology breakdown or loss of critical data and falling victim to cyber crime. This is despite the fact that electronic crime against businesses is on the rise.

“The survey suggests that we need to do much more to inform the small business community about the security threats that are attacking their IT infrastructure,” said Trend Micro SMB product marketing manager Paul Burke.

“Small businesses are very resource-constrained, particularly when it comes to specific IT expertise,” he added, “In many small businesses, IT is a part of somebody else’s job and is dealt with by the accountant or the business owner rather than specialists.”

Trend Micro has suggested a variety of ways in which small businesses can reduce the risk of technology failure and limit the loss of data if it does happen. These include:

protecting PCs and laptops with firewalls and anti-virus software

keeping operating systems up to date to ensure protection against new threats

backing-up all data regularly, with encryption to protect sensitive records

banning downloads from non-trusted sources

deleting sensitive information from mobile devices, which are easily lost or stolen

ensuring employees combine numbers and letters in their passwords, and change them frequently