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IT security is becoming a major cause of executive stress, according to a brace of surveys out today.

Nearly a third (30 per cent) of IT directors polled by Hitachi Data Systems admitted that data security issues were likely to keep them awake at night. This figure was up by 10 per cent since the same survey question was asked six months ago. Some 81 per cent of companies surveyed said that disaster recovery and backup were a top spending priority.

These findings are reported in the latest Hitachi Data Systems Storage Index, an independently conducted poll of 690 IT directors in large and medium-sized companies throughout Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA). The new survey revealed that redundancy fears remain high throughout the region. As few as 28 per cent of respondents were confident that there would be no more redundancies in their companies over the next two years - compared to 33 per cent six months ago. However the number of respondents citing cost reduction as a key priority has dropped from 61 per cent to 55 per cent over the last six months.

"The job of the IT director has clearly not been one for the faint-hearted over the last couple of years - and looking ahead the picture is still rather mixed. There are some encouraging signs that economic pressures are starting to abate, but this is more than offset by increasing security and regulatory worries. Being an IT director is clearly a daunting responsibility," said John Taffinder, Executive Vice President, EMEA, Hitachi Data Systems.

Life is scarcely easier in smaller companies. More than three quarters of business directors at 150 mid-sized UK companies quizzed by IT support consultancy FITE IT rated computer viruses as one of their three most pressing management headaches. Control of company finances and human resource issues also featured in the survey's top three management pressures list. The survey found that 61 per cent of mid-sized businesses with between 20 to 250 employees would consider outsourcing their IT support before recruiting specialist IT personnel in-house as a way of coping with unpredictable support needs. ®

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