More than 60pc of Irish companies believe that their IT security budget will increase this year and three quarters of organisations monitor their employees’ email and web browsing, a new survey by the industry analyst firm IDC has revealed.
The as-yet unreleased survey, seen by siliconrepublic.com, also shows that security would be the most popular choice if respondents had more money to spend on IT last year. IDC asked what organisations would choose if their 2003 IT budget had been 10pc greater than it actually was; 15pc said they would earmark the money for general IT security and an additional 12pc said they would use the extra funds for an intrusion detection system.
Of those who said their security budget would increase in 2004, a quarter of this number expects this figure to rise by at least 30pc. As a proportion of overall IT budgets, the average allocation given to security is 6pc, IDC found.
The report identified the old reliables antivirus and firewall software as the most widely installed security products in Ireland, cited by 93pc and 79pc of respondents respectively. Two thirds of companies use hardware-based appliances for their firewall needs. Secure virtual private networks are used by 59pc of organisations, 41pc use encryption technology and 29pc use tokens or smart cards.
As for new products or services planned for the year, 36pc intend to install intrusion detection systems and 25pc will roll out encryption. Single sign-on technology tops the list of projects planned for the next 24 months, among 19pc of organisations. Interestingly, 14pc intend to adopt biometric technology, which IDC currently views as a niche solution, over the same timeframe.
The survey findings indicated that the main objective behind IT security is ensuring business continuity, with a second associated aim of disaster recovery. Other issues around wireless and remote access were identified, but IDC’s reading of this was that they contribute to the uninterrupted flow of a business.
IDC conducted the survey at its security conference held in Dublin last year. The results were skewed somewhat in favour of larger organisations, as many of the respondents were from public sector bodies including government departments. Business services providers and financial companies comprised the next largest group.
By Gordon Smith