IT managers losing sleep over security

4 Aug 2005

Up to 42pc of Irish IT managers confess to losing sleep over security concerns and 42pc also confess to losing sleep over their ability to support business priorities, a survey commissioned by Computer Associates (CA) reveals.

Asked what the biggest security concern was, virus attacks received 39pc of the vote, with spam receiving 18pc and the impact of new technologies highlighted by 15pc.

The survey of 33 IT managers in Ireland was commissioned by CA and was conducted by ICM Research.

Server downtime and security breaches also took joint favourite spot in the biggest risk to business category over the next 12 months, with 24pc of the vote each.

Frank Kennedy, Ireland country manager at CA, commented: “My interpretation of these results would be that business continuity is the biggest concern for IT managers. Security poses a threat to business continuity, which is probably why the two go hand in hand, but it is a concern in so far as it could prevent them from doing their job of delivering a service to the business.

“For IT employees to have the business at the forefront of their minds is good news, because it means they are not getting blinkered by their own problems,” Kennedy estimated.

Accountability to the business remained a strong theme throughout the survey. When asked, 42pc confirmed they use service level agreements to measure the performance of the IT department. In terms of what part of the business gets priority IT support, 30pc operate based on a list of pre-agreed priorities.

Compliance was judged to be a ‘very important’ issue by 27pc of those surveyed, with 45pc currently involved in compliance work.

The concern with challenges facing the business was certainly more prominent that any concerns about challenges facing the IT department. Respondents chose five out of 10 as the extent to which they were under pressure to reduce IT budgets, they claimed to be confident they had the software licenses they needed and confident that storage provision was adequate.

They also indicated they were fairly unlikely to outsource management of their security, simply because they managed it adequately themselves.

When asked whether they used open source software anywhere in the organisation, only 12pc said they did, with 50pc of those who had made a strategic decision not to use open source strategically doing so because of a lack of evidence about benefits and 50pc because of a preference for other technologies.

“The picture that is being painted by the respondents to this survey is of an IT industry in Ireland that is avoiding getting caught up in the latest hype or conducting IT for IT’s sake,” says Kennedy.

“They are concerned about and focused on supporting the business. They use the technologies that can achieve positive results for the business and they report to the business on their performance. It’s a healthy situation – but it sounds like they need to get more sleep.”

By John Kennedy