IT Priorities: are security folk paranoid?

Summary:There's no denying that security is a big issue for many businesses, but those who are most concerned about it seem to be nearly as concerned about everything else.

There's no denying that security is a big issue for many businesses, but those who are most concerned about it seem to be nearly as concerned about everything else.

Respondents to the ZDNet 2011 IT Priorities survey were given a list of 17 concerns for their business, one of which was protecting and securing the network. Those who said it was a major challenge, or the top challenge, seemed to rate most of the other concerns not far behind. Perhaps they're naturally diligent, or maybe they just worry too much.

This chart shows the list of concerns, split between those identifying security as a big issue and those who said it was of little concern. For those not concerned about security, decreasing IT budgets and penetrating new markets and channels are the biggest issues. The others (those with security concerns) worry about controlling costs, market responsiveness, business continuity, changing business requirements ... the list goes on.

(Credit: Phil Dobbie/ZDNet Australia)

If, as you look at the chart, you're ticking off all the concerns and thinking, "That's me", don't worry, you're not alone. Almost half of all respondents said network security was a top or major challenge, and hence, share all the other big concerns. Those less worried about security, and everything else, account for just 17 per cent of the respondents to the survey.

Naturally, the figures are influenced by company size, but not by as much as you might think. Sixty per cent of businesses with 1000 seats or more give network security as a top or major concern; it's as high as 53 per cent for businesses with 10-99 seats.

Offshoring and outsourcing were ranked low by all respondents, irrespective of their security concerns. If we turn the figure around though, and look at those who have said pressure to outsource is a big issue, 70 per cent list network security as a top or major concern, compared to 48 per cent on average. For those worried about offshoring the figure rises to 73 per cent.

So what conclusion can we draw from all these figures? I'd say those worried about security aren't naturally paranoid, they just have a lot to worry about. (Paranoia only applies when the concern isn't justified.)

Topics: CXO, IT Priorities, Security

About

Phil Dobbie has a wealth of radio and business experience. He started his career in commercial radio in the UK and, since coming to Australia in 1991, has held senior marketing and management roles with Telstra, OzEmail, the British Tourist Authority and other telecommunications, media, travel and advertising businesses.

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