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November 10, 2005

UK companies still failing to overcome security threats

New research has suggested that UK companies are under-spending on IT security and not doing enough to protect their assets, despite the fact that three quarters of organizations suffer at least one serious virus incident each year.

By CBR Staff Writer

This is one of five key conclusions drawn by Butler Group following an analysis of results from the Q3 2005 UK IT Priorities Survey, undertaken by ZDNet UK, the UK’s leading technology website and a property of CNET Networks UK.

The survey also clearly indicates that a large proportion of IT professionals’ time is being taken up by managing challenges created by existing IT investments, as opposed to new initiatives that bring competitive advantage or improved service to their organisations.

The UK IT Priorities Survey, provides a real-time snapshot of business technology priorities and a comprehensive view of the practical issues affecting IT professionals in the UK.

Results from the survey reveal that the number one IT priority of UK technology professionals is security, and that this will become even more important over time. Yet, despite this awareness, it is clear that many organizations continually under-spend on IT security.

The majority are failing to address the need to implement an integrated set of security solutions that could deliver real operational value and protection, instead preferring to focus investments on fire-fighting the latest threat model, stated Alan Rodger, Research Analyst with Butler Group. UK companies must change their thinking; security should be viewed as a business-enabling solution incorporating the flexibility to grow and adapt alongside the business operation that it is there to protect – not as a necessary evil.

The 836 complete responses to the UK IT Priorities Survey, were wholly assembled from contributions of ZDNet UK readers. Respondents were invited to mark which technologies they considered to be most important to their organization and about the motivation behind their selection. Motivators included managing risk, increasing the productivity of users, saving money, increasing competitiveness, aiding compliance, and easing management of the technology department.

Other findings from the survey reveal:

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– Application development is considered a key factor in improving organizational competitiveness and increasing user productivity, but only an average of 20 percent of the IT budget is invested in this area.

– Mail and Messaging Management: email is already a critical business system responsible for communicating and storing more than 60% of business information, but instant messaging is seen as the way forward for improving users’ productivity.

– Companies are striving to achieve greater efficiency in their IT Management. This is considered fundamental in the face of ongoing pressure to manage risk and increase productivity and competitiveness.

– Networking issues and their impact on daily operations are great concerns for the IT professional. The IT infrastructure must evolve in order for the virtual office concept to become reality, and UK companies are clearly responding to the demands of their workforce: almost 70 percent of respondents intend to implement remote access, 54 percent Wi-Fi and 48 percent internet telephony.

Overall it is clear from the UK survey that a large proportion of IT professionals’ time is being taken up by managing the challenges created by existing IT investments, rather than on new initiatives that will bring competitive advantage or improved service to their organizations. As such, Butler Group stresses that companies must implement methods to more accurately measure IT costs and value.

Source: OpinionWire by Butler Group (www.butlergroup.com)

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