Cost-cutting firms gamble with IT security

The latest survey to take the temperature of the UK IT sector shows definite signs of increasing investment, although many firms are still cutting corners on security

Research released by 3Com on Friday suggests that many UK firms have been gambling with the security of their IT systems through excessive cost-cutting.

Out of 100 enterprise IT managers interviewed, one in five admitted that they had jeopardised network and data security over the past 12 months because of budget constraints.

More encouragingly, over half those interviewed said that they regard IT security as a higher priority than cost-cutting. 3Com says this indicates that companies are now putting essential technology investment above the need to cut costs, and that the era of tightly constrained budgets is coming to an end.

"It is great to see that the majority of enterprises are realising the importance of security," said Neil Venus, security solutions director at 3Com, in a statement. "However, this survey suggests that a great many companies are still compromising on the security of their networks due to budget constraints, which is an extremely worrying trend."

Given the alarming surge in viruses, worms and hacking attacks, it's perhaps little surprise that IT mangers recognise that cutting back on security won't achieve long-term savings.

Half of UK businesses fell victim to either a virus or distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack in the past year, a 25 percent increase on the year before, according to the Department of Trade and Industry's latest Information Security Breaches Survey.

3Comps research also found evidence that medium-sized enterprises are favouring collaboration strategies over cost-cutting, while a quarter of all those surveyed said that cutting costs is their number one priority when assessing IT investments.