By Jeremy Kirk
September 18, 2006
IDG News Service
Enterprises will increasingly face skilled IT criminals trying to
infiltrate corporate networks for sensitive data stored in databases,
but adopting new policies to evaluate risk should help drive the cost of
defense down, computer security analysts said Monday.
The attacks could come in a variety of forms -- extortion attempts after
data is encrypted and held hostage and the theft of intellectual
property -- but all could have "potentially disastrous" effects for
unprepared businesses, said Vic Wheatman, managing vice president at
research analyst firm Gartner Inc.
"Most businesses aren't attacked but some are," Wheatman said at
Gartner's IT Security Summit. "We believe that cybercrime represents the
Businesses will need new IT strategies to defend themselves.
Enterprises now should spend 4 percent to 6 percent of their IT budgets
on information security. This figure is equivalent to what organizations
allot for casualty insurance, he said. From its latest data, Gartner
expects information security budgets to increase 4.5 percent over the
But many corporations are creating security policies based on government
regulations rather than threats. The result is policies that meet the
auditors' requirements but aren't necessarily best for the overall
security, said Jay Heiser, Gartner research vice president. "We refer to
that as 'regulatory distraction,'" Heiser said.
Rather than trying to anticipate a new regulation, it's better for
companies to treat regulation as one more factor in an overall risk
portfolio, Heiser said. It could take at least five years for an
enterprise to form this approach, he said.
Corporations can also rethink how they acquire new security software.
Rather than buying the "best of breed" security product, companies can
buy the "best of need," one that may not be the top of the market but
meets the company's requirements, Wheatman said.
Security products are also increasingly meshing what were separate
functions. Wheatman said companies have shown success in negotiations
with security vendors in getting, for example, antispyware included with
antispam and antivirus software instead of paying extra.
"We do think that over time, organizations can decrease their security
budgets as a percentage of the IT budget," Wheatman said.
Gartner released figures last week showing strong growth in the computer
security software sales. Revenue totaled $7.4 billion in 2005, a 14.8
percent increase over 2004. Antivirus software represented 54.3 percent
of the revenue, at $4 billion.
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