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IT departments can't quantify security risks

Research finds that IT departments don't know whether threats to their organisations are increasing or decreasing

Nearly half of IT departments have no idea whether security risks are increasing or decreasing, according to a new report.

The research by Vanson Bourne of over 1,000 UK IT directors and CIOs found that 46 per cent of IT teams were unable to quantify risk to organisations from security threats. The study found that 60 per cent of CIOs and IT directors classed network security as their top priority.

When asked about their ability to measure and report on network security risk, 51 per cent said this was possible. While 38 per cent of financial services companies, responsible for handling consumer data, admitted to being unable to measure network security effectively. 20 per cent of these senior IT professionals didn't know if they can perform this basic level of reporting.

The study found that 45 per cent of respondents say their companies are taking longer than a month to compile information for regulatory compliance, despite this being the top priority for 25 per cent of organisations - 37 per cent in large organisations (3,000+ employees). This represented an improvement over last year's timescales (60 per cent of companies took over a month and 26 per cent up to three months).

But the research shows that UK companies are still falling far short of best practice with 30 per cent who cannot say with confidence how long it takes to compile compliance data.

"CIOs and IT directors that embrace the benefits of effective security risk management reporting will create better, faster and safer businesses," said Kevin Lamb, Director of EMEA Operations at nCircle, the company that commissioned the survey. "As well as the direct positive impact on business risk, organisations stand to benefit from reduced operational and compliance audit costs."

He said that a company that has real-time information has more risk control and higher efficiency levels than one that is taking three months to compile data.

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