Security a high concern amongst British firms

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More than half of British companies rate IT and network safety as their biggest security concern, a MORI survey has revealed. The survey of 100 companies, commissioned by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and IT services company Qinetiq, also found that 78 per cent have conducted a strategic overhaul of security in the last two years.

"More notice is being taken of the security issue," said Digby Jones, CBI director general. "The average amount of money spent on security over the last three years is one million pounds. That's not an insignificant amount of money."

The report highlighted the increased profile of security since the September 11 attacks in New York. "The depth of concern heightens after every atrocity and tragedy. But I've seen concern in general rise in the last three years," said Jones.

Qinetiq's chairman Pauline Neville-Jones confirmed the trend. "We've been tracking awareness and it is increasing," she said. "But what we have also found is the larger the company the more prepared they are for attack."

Both Jones and Neville-Jones called on the Government to play a fuller role, and suggested an expansion of the role of organizations such as the UK's National Infrastructure Security Co-Ordination Centre (NISCC).

"NISCC already has a relationship, it produces a threat assessment. What we want is something that is more nationwide. A one-stop-shop virtual network of people with the right expertise," said Neville-Jones.

They said companies would be willing to pay for such a service, and indicated that any potential benefits would outweigh costs. "The CBI are going to lobby for increased interconnection," Jones said. "Starting with a consultation period with both the police and business."

The CBI is currently hosting a conference on corporate security in London.

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