Firms to splash cash on IT security

Analysts predict that identity management solutions are the next hot security technologies

Concerns over the security of their computer systems will force many companies to invest in identity management technologies, according to new research.

Analyst firm IDC predicted on Tuesday that, despite the tech recession, the amount of money spent on IT security will grow over the coming years.

IDC's European Corporate Infrastructure Survey 2002 has found that security is the top priority for European chief information officers, due to growing concern over security breaches. As a result, the survey revealed, many companies are employing the services of security auditors to assess the state of their systems -- a move that IDC says is also driven by growing regulatory requirements.

According to IDC, identity management technologies such as PKI (Public Key Infrastructure) and SSO (single sign-on) will win a significant chunk of IT security spending. IDC found that 17 percent of European firms plan to implement PKI, and 14 percent plan to implement SSO, in the next 12 to 36 months.

A public key is a digital certificate that allows individuals and organisations to exchange encrypted messages. Single sign-on means an organisation can safely allow users to access multiple systems and applications after only logging on once, by authenticating them the first time they log on.

IDC believes that companies are prepared to invest in IT security because they see it has wide benefits.

"Security is evolving from not only being a necessary expense to protect organisations against threats but is transforming into a true business enabler in times of increasing collaborative commerce and supply chain integration," said Thomas Raschke, programme manager for IDC's security products and strategies service, in a statement.

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