By Mari-Len De Guzman
JUNE 20, 2005
IDG NEWS SERVICE
Investment in security has topped the banking sector's IT spending
priority list for 2005, according to a study by the Info-Tech Research
Info-Tech's 2005 IT Budget and Staffing Report surveyed more than
1,400 IT decision-makers in various vertical industries, including
finance, manufacturing, government, agriculture, health and
professional services. Of the banks surveyed, 89% were in based in the
Privacy regulations and other compliance challenges are the main
factors driving banks to spend more to improve their security
infrastructure, according to Jason Livingstone, an analyst at London,
Ontario-based Info-Tech. "Certainly in the last few years, [security]
has been right at the very top with respect to IT priorities, [and] it
continues to gain prominence with banks," he said.
Of the banks surveyed, 59% said they're planning to increase their
investment levels for security, focusing on privacy and security of
transactions. Seventy percent of the banks' IT executives said they
will spend money on security software.
Banks are ahead of companies in other sectors when it comes to
implementing security technologies such as firewalls, virtual private
networks, and antispam and intrusion-detection systems, with 80%
saying they have adopted at least one of those systems, the survey
Livingstone said that with new IT budgets, banks are looking at other
forms of security enhancements, with an eye specifically on improving
interbranch communication and online transactions.
"Web site security is very critical. Virtually every bank has online
banking, so there is great focus on protecting that customer
interaction through their Web site," he said.
Among the sectors surveyed, banking stood out as having the highest
business growth, with 78% of respondents saying they are experiencing
medium to high levels of growth, the report said.
Banks spend a high proportion of their budgets on IT, and a big slice
of that spending goes to secure their systems, said Livingstone. "The
nature of their business means they have to, because they are dealing
with their clients' bank accounts -- so security is a must-have."
Better protection of consumer data and privacy of information are also
some of the top issues among opinion leaders who took part in a recent
study by Washington-based IQ Research and Consulting. Adobe Systems
Inc. and security vendor RSA Security Inc. jointly commissioned that
Of 400 opinion leaders in the Washington area who were surveyed, 86%
said that they think technology has a strong impact on consumer data
protection, 44% said they felt that consumer data theft should be a
top priority for government legislators. Creating more secure forms
should also be among Congress's "top tier" issues, according to the
"Technology needs to fill the gap between technologies for sharing and
technologies for safeguarding information," said Bruce Chizen, Adobe's
Adobe is a leading provider of electronic documents software. Its most
popular product, the Adobe PDF software, addresses security in
electronic documentation and exchange through its read-only and
password-protected features, among other things. Chizen said
document-level security is a "necessary ingredient in addressing the
gap and protecting the privacy, confidentiality and authenticity of
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