Mid-sized firms warned they are a security target

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More than seven out of 10 mid-sized businesses believe a data breach could put them out of business, according to a McAfee survey.

Despite that concern, the survey showed mid-sized businesses are cutting back on security spending.

Of the companies surveyed, 56 per cent had seen an increase in security incidents over the past year, while 29 per cent were hit by a breach.

Contrary to what most of those surveyed thought, smaller companies are more at risk of a data breach. Companies between 100 and 500 employees reported an average 24 breaches over the past three years, while those with up to 1,000 employees averaged just 15.

Despite such challenges, many firms are still cutting budgets and spending less time on security work. Two-thirds said they spend fewer than four hours a week on proactive security work, but over a day to recover from attacks.

"An organisation's level of worry and awareness about increasing threats has not overcome the downward pressure on budgets and resources," said Darrell Rodenbaugh, senior vice president of global midmarket for McAfee, in a statement.

"But this creates a vicious cycle of breach and repair that costs far more than prevention," he added.