Few takers for security outsourcing

As one analyst group predicts a boom in outsourcing, another says that few firms are prepared to hand over the security of their IT systems

European firms are still reluctant to hand over the management of key security measures to third-parties, according to research published on Friday.

A survey conducted by research group Datamonitor has found that just 30 percent of companies are willing to consider outsourcing the management of their email services or their firewall. Just over one in three would consider employing another firm to run their VPN access.

This is despite the fact that half the companies surveyed agreed that outsourcing would let them benefit from IT security without having to cope with the technical and administrative burden.

According to Datamonitor, one reason for this reluctance is a fear that the control of key security measures could be handed over to a company which then goes out of business. Another is a desire to keep more cutting-edge technologies in-house.

"The current demand for outsourced public key infrastructure (PKI) is very low, as Datamonitor believes that it is rare for enterprises to outsource 'new' technologies (such as PKI) before attempting to get to grips with them first internally," the research firm explained.

"Furthermore, given the current economic climate, organisations have a desire to remain in control of certain security features, especially ones that protect sensitive company data and the operational core of the business."

According to other analysts, the pace of outsourcing is speeding up.

Gartner said this week that the outsourcing market will grow by more than 40 percent this year, as chief information officers come under pressure to save money by moving services to parts of the world where labour costs are lower than in Western Europe.

Datamonitor's report, Understanding end-user trends in enterprise management and security also found that 62 percent of European firms have no plans to increase their spending on IT security in 2003, even though many have only implemented relatively basic security measures.

All the companies surveyed by Datamonitor had implemented anti-virus solutions and 97 percent owned a firewall, but just 23 percent had invested in PKI.

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