A/NZ IT managers overlook looming dangers, says report

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A/NZ IT managers overlook looming dangers, says report

A new Galaxy survey commissioned by security vendor MessageLabs has found that half of all IT managers are not entirely happy with their Web security system and believe it could better.

Software platforms remain the most popular tool for Web security with 92 percent of organisations using the solution to protect their enterprise from threats compared to 51 percent that used appliance solutions or a managed service.

However, the survey results of approximately 100 local enterprises with 500 plus employees, found that the widespread use of software lacks confidence with only 39 percent of users saying it’s highly secure. In contrast, 63 percent of users rated managed services as highly secure.

“The fact that software is being used by basically half the respondents is not really a big surprise it’s an established platform and widely used,” said Philip Routley, product marketing manager at MessageLabs.

“The main surprise was that only 39 percent were saying they were secure so they’re all using it but actually 60 percent of the people using software said it’s not highly secure,” he said.

Software based security technologies were found to slow down the service to the end user, the accuracy was questionable, and hidden costs of the service such as hardware and staffing were found to hinder its use.

Managed services were not without fault with management limitations, such as restricted central management consoles. These have been found to be time consuming for new users as well as offering limited service functionality.

Meanwhile, the report revealed that only 33 percent of IT managers in Australia and New Zealand consider the convergence and sophistication of online threats to be the biggest threat to security systems, with inappropriate usage of the Web of slightly more concern at 34 percent.

This was another surprising result for MessageLabs’ expert Routley, who said he expected to see converged threats considered as a higher threat.

“The concern is that a lot of the IT managers at the moment don’t fully grasp the dangers of converged threats. So they’re still looking at them and saying ‘well I have a spam issue or we’ve got a Web issue’,” he said.

Andrew Antal, country manager A/NZ at MessageLabs said we are increasingly seeing a merging of security breaching techniques, such as spam, spyware, viruses and phishing, creating a single more advanced threat.

According to the survey, ninety-seven percent of the most likely sites to be blocked at work include adult or sexually explicit sites followed by social networking sites, such as Facebook.

Forty-one percent of IT professionals surveyed said shopping sites, including eBay are blocked at their workplace. Followed by 38 percent saying they blocked Web-based email, such as Yahoo and Gmail blogs.

Additionally, security policies are reviewed by most organisations at least once a year, with 25 percent reviewing their policies every 6 months or more often.
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