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Cost, mistrust hold back security outsourcing

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SANS - Survey on application security programs

Fears about costs and reluctance to trust a third party are holding back firms from outsourcing security.

That's among the main conclusions of a survey of 100 IT managers by the McAfee security division of Network Associates, which revealed widespread confusion about the financial pros and cons of letting third parties handle anti-virus protection.

Almost a third of respondents cited cost as a major barrier to embracing a hosted security solution, yet reduction in costs was cited as the most important benefit of outsourcing by 27 per cent of those quizzed.

The survey pointed towards a lack of faith in AV suppliers. More than half (56 per cent) of those quizzed were adamant that outsourcing their security to an anti-virus vendor would not improve the effectiveness of their AV defences. Against this, one in seven of businesses surveyed already outsource their security.

More than nine in ten of IT managers surveyed believe they have sufficient resources to manage security, even though 82 per cent of respondents have suffered a virus attack in the last 12 months and one in three had experienced virus-induced downtime.

End user irresponsibility and failure to update anti-virus software was stated as prime cause of infections.

The argument is that managed services offer a way for companies to ensure that the anti-virus protection is up to date and reduce the cost of managing AV software, particularly for smaller firms. McAfee is trying to grow its services business through its managed desktop services and sales of its software to ISPs who can use its technology to scan users' email for viruses. ®

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