Revealed: Tech's top risk areas for cost and security

From inefficient printers to phantom user accounts, software company BDNA has identified the most common tech problems that can cost money or lead to security breaches in organisations

Viruses, dodgy printers, unsupported open-source software and iTunes are all among the 10 most common tech problems that can cost money or lead to security breaches in organisations.

Software company BDNA surveyed its customers and identified the 10 most important issues chief information officers should be aware of to cut the risk of security breaches and effectively manage a modern IT environment.

The top 10 tech issues are:

  1. Unprotected computers: Two to three percent of computers studied had no antivirus software, meaning they could provide an entry point for malware, which could potentially infect a whole corporate network.
  2. Network congestion: Roughly two percent of machines have peer-to-peer software installed and the resulting high data traffic can clog up corporate networks.
  3. Back-up issues: Around three percent of machines operate Apple iTunes which hinders daily backup as more music files are added. A company with 20,000 PCs would typically see around 2.4TB of hard-drive space being taken up with these files.
  4. Unsupported software: The survey found 10 percent of servers in one financial institution were running unsupported Solaris and Linux software. If these systems fail, data recovery could prove costly and difficult. These systems would also fail to stand up to scrutiny from Sarbanes-Oxley regulations.
  5. Inefficient printers: More than 50 percent of printers at one BDNA customer did not have the capability to print on both sides of paper. A company with 20,000 PCs, producing 75 pages of printing per week could save £175,000 per year if duplex printers were used; and save 4,120 trees.
  6. Unused PCs: One customer outsourcing the management of 70,000 PCs was paying for around 3,500 machines that were no longer on the network; not cheap at £15 a throw.
  7. Expiring warranties: A government agency surveyed by BDNA had 20 percent of its PCs that were nearing the end of their warranty. By knowing this, the chief information officer was able to work out an accurate budget for replacing hardware.
  8. Insecure PCs: Another customer had several PCs containing password crackers and network sniffing code that could have significant implications on privacy and HR.
  9. Unnecessary or phantom user accounts: One company was found to have 28 percent of user accounts for its ERP system that were never used but against which fees were charged.
  10. Name confusion: System names and domain-name system names often differ, meaning files transferred through FTP can be sent to the wrong machine, again having an impact on security and data protection.