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UK businesses are so slapdash about IT security if they owned a brand new Ferrari they'd probably leave it unlocked with the keys in the ignition. And the door open. With a sign saying "nick me".

So says alternative telco Energis, which reckons that UK businesses just aren't doing enough to protect themselves. Its study The Cost of Chaos found that 70 per cent of cash splashed on IT security is still shelled out only after a security breach has hit a company.And it warns this lax attitude is costing UK businesses millions in lost orders and increased costs.

Things are so bad the "true and complete impact of poor IT security will strike fear into the core of businesses across the UK".

El Reg tried to speak to some core UK businesses about this but they were all too afraid to answer the phone.

Anyhow, Energis found that security breaches result in systems being down for an average of 16 hours and a 75 per cent loss of business during that period. Putting right such security breaches can cost companies on average £122,000 as well as facing higher insurance premiums.

Energis security bod Malcolm Seagrave said: "The way many UK businesses handle IT security is the equivalent of leaving a brand new Ferrari unlocked with the keys in the ignition.

"Companies must invest time and money in the right security infrastructure and in having a failsafe business continuity plan ready should the worst happen. With a host of cost effective, outsourced solutions readily available, it's no longer acceptable to cry over spilt milk."

Hang on a mo. Was the milk spilt before or after the car was nicked? Even so, surely it (the car, not the milk) was insured? ®

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