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European companies are becoming bogged down in their increasingly complicated IT security arrangements, according to new research.

A study commissioned by security software company McAfee reveals a desire for easier management of IT security is being undermined by complex security system purchasing strategies. Despite IT managers demanding a single view of IT security, too many security suppliers, solutions, and management consoles are weighing down businesses with unnecessary complications, McAfee claims.

The research was conducted by Ipsos MORI Research and assessed 600 businesses in Britain, France, the Netherlands, Spain and Italy.

Researchers found that while over three quarters (77 per cent) of those questioned would like to have a single overview of the security of their IT infrastructure, nearly a third (29 per cent) currently use four or more management consoles. Just over a third of businesses have five or more security solutions deployed, while one in five (22 per cent) enterprises questioned have seven or more different solutions.

A quarter (24 per cent) of larger enterprises with more than 1,000 employees also claimed five or more different security suppliers.

"Managing a range of different solutions from a range of vendors is a headache. It is also inefficient and expensive. Businesses need to look at integrated security solutions under a single console which deliver protection against a full range of threats while at the same time being cost effective and easy to manage," said McAfee's European director of system security Aminah Gianfrancesco.

One of the main difficulties for businesses with multiple software solutions from a variety of vendors is keeping the whole security shebang up-to-date, and this means managing the deployment of patches. Across Europe, just over half of respondents said that they apply software patches daily or even more frequently. Italian businesses are the biggest patchers with 67 per cent admitting to deploying patches at least once a day, closely followed by German businesses.

Regardless of multiple IT security systems, only 23 per cent of respondents said they are completely satisfied with the level of security across their systems and network.

When it comes to purchasing new security solutions, functionality is the main driver. Over a quarter of businesses questioned say they base their purchasing decision on specific features of a product. Only 13 per cent responded that price is the driving force behind purchasing new security systems although cost is the biggest motivator for British businesses with just over one-in-five companies admitting to choosing the cheapest option.

Copyright © 2006, ENN

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