Fed up with enterprises using lack of budget as an excuse for not securing data properly, Davey Winder investigates whether organisations could actually do more with less.

As a company with a reputation for building mission-critical IT systems for the defence and aerospace industries, Thales has an understandable interest in IT security spending.

Which is why I was surprised to find myself reading a report (http://www.thalescyberassurance.com/white-papers.htm) commissioned by the company which suggested businesses may be spending too much on IT security by over-protecting non-sensitive data.

Depending upon your company’s appetite for risk" she explains "no data is ever considered as non-sensitive.

Ross Parsell, director of cyber strategy at Thales UK, warns that, while the volume and scale of cyber-attacks show no signs of slowing down, there is a danger that resources are sometimes assigned to areas that do not need them.

This idea that IT departments might be spending too much on the wrong things got me thinking: could the average enterprise do better, and be more secure, while spending less?

Paying out

A great deal of the overspend argument depends on what organisations class as 'non-sensitive data', explains Logica’s business consulting cyber security lead, Cheryl Martin.

"[In certain companies] No data is ever considered non-sensitive,” says Martin. “Cyber criminals earn their keep from obtaining and reselling the most innocuous piece of information which, with careful company grooming, could be used to pull together an in-depth view of the targeted organisation and individuals".

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