IT security spending to increase: survey

A quarter of European firms are planning to increase their IT security budgets in the coming year, a new survey has found.

According to the 2006 Global Information Security Survey by Accenture, some 25 percent of respondents said they expected to spend more on security than last year.

This was echoed throughout the world, with 57 percent of respondents in India intending to increase their spend, along with 50 percent of US respondents and 42 percent in China.

Concerns about security threats such as hackers, identity theft and data security were also highlighted as major concerns.

However one surprise from the survey was that firms are feeling more secure this year. Only 13 percent of European IT professionals believe that their companies are more vulnerable to attacks than they were a year ago. Most believe they are no more vulnerable than they were last year, which indicates a growing confidence.

Only 11 percent of US companies felt they were more vulnerable, as did 16 percent in China and 25 percent in India.

Despite this increased confidence however, a larger number of attacks were reported in the past year, with some 57 percent of US companies claiming they had been hit by viruses, 34 percent attacked by worms and 18 percent reporting denial of service attacks. Furthermore, 9 percent suffered network attacks and 8 percent were victims of identity theft.

Topping the list of priorities for IT professionals was raising user awareness, which some 41 percent identified as their most important concern, while enforcing security policies came in a close second at 36 percent. Controlling access to systems remains a major concern, with 26 percent of respondents identifying it as such, while just under a quarter -- 23 percent -- believe that increasing resources is a concern.

The survey also highlighted the changing security priorities of firms. Only 28 percent of European firms surveyed said "time to implementation" was an important factor in choosing a security product or service. This view can also be seen in China, where only 23 percent rated it as important, in India (38 percent) and in the US (47 percent).

Instead, firms are rating criteria such as a product's technical strength, the cost of ownership and the support a product comes with as more important.

Some 2,000 IT security professionals from eight countries were involved in the survey.

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