Half of ICT firms suffer security breach

Internal threats rise

Over 50 per cent of ICT firms reported a security breach in the last 12 months, according to a survey conducted by business advisory firm Deloitte.

Of the reported security breaches, one-third resulted in significant financial losses for the affected firms. Among those companies whose security had been breached in the last 12 months, 50 per cent were attacked from within. Deloitte says this statistic is unsurprising given the increasing popularity of portable media devices, such as memory cards, which are routinely used to store large amounts of confidential data.

Reflecting the rise in internal threats, the vast majority of those surveyed said they were not confident in the security of their internal IT infrastructure, with 83 per cent saying they were worried about employee misconduct involving IT.

The report surveyed technology, media and telecoms firms worldwide and shows that many companies are underestimating the need for security. While companies seem to understand the financial implications of security attacks, intangible factors such as damage to reputation, customer dissatisfaction and lost productivity are often overlooked.

Now that technology, media and telecoms firms are so reliant on digital information and technology, security-related disruptions have become a "major concern", according to Deloitte. In spite of this, the Deloitte survey reveals that only 48 per cent of surveyed firms have an enterprise-wide program to manage business continuity - well below the average in other industries.

"Carefully structured and managed security may not be a substantial source of sustainable competitive advantage, but it is certainly a critical part of any mature and well managed business in the 21st century. The fact that just four per cent of those surveyed believed they were doing enough to address security issues, with 54 per cent citing budget constraints and lack of management support as the main challenges to achieving security goals, is of concern," said Colm McDonnell, a director in Deloitte's Enterprise Risk Services group.

"The increasing vulnerability of the [technology, media, telecoms] sector to attack means that security is no longer a minor operating detail best left to the IT department. The industry needs to address security as a fundamental business requirement - and a strategic imperative," McDonnell concluded.

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