Security tops SME IT spend

16 Nov 2005

Security was the single largest IT investment choice by small businesses in Ireland over the past year, a new survey reveals. During that time, two thirds of companies said they bought new systems to protect their computers and data.

More than 200 Irish organisations were polled for the survey; of those, 55pc said they believe that security technology is critical to the ongoing running of their business. In addition, respondents said that security of data was an important benefit sought from IT investments.

Nine out of 10 businesses said they protect their systems against viruses; almost seven out of 10 of those interviewed cited virus protection as critical to the ongoing running of their business. Spyware, which has come to prominence lately as a major IT security issue, appears to have spurred companies into action – 76pc of respondents said they take precautions to prevent their machines being infected with such programs.

Stopping viruses is the main consideration for businesses when buying security tools, ahead of factors such as ease of installation and management of the software. Almost 60pc of those surveyed said that affordability of those security solutions is also a major consideration.

One in five companies said they have experienced business outages as a result of security issues. However, some organisations don’t have a security policy in place; the survey did not make clear what percentage of businesses this referred to, but of this figure, almost a quarter said they had no plans to implement one.

Interestingly, 88pc of companies said they manage IT security in-house, with 12pc saying they outsource their security requirements. Business continuity has also emerged as a big issue for companies, with over six out of 10 citing it as important for their business. Recent industry developments have shown a close correlation between this area and IT security, with analysts saying the two disciplines are related.

The survey was carried out by Dell and Business Plus magazine and the findings have been released as part of the build-up to tomorrow’s Make IT Secure Day, the focal point of an awareness campaign aimed at improving knowledge of information security among the public.

By Gordon Smith