The survey of over 400 IT managers found that the top concern is network availability, and not security as had been the case in earlier studies.
Security emerged as the second biggest concern, followed by performance and compliance monitoring.
"When you say 'risk' you think 'security', but actually availability is the top risk," said Jeremy Ward, development director at Symantec Global Services which carried out the research.
"It shows that people are thinking in a more balanced way. IT managers are thinking that availability will bite hardest if the directors get annoyed because the network is down."
The survey also found plummeting levels of confidence in the abilities of users to keep networks secure. Support for security training fell to below 50 per cent for the first time, as most managers believe that it is ineffective.
"Those figures worry me. Successful risk management is about creating a culture if you do not want people sending millions of addresses on CD through the post, for example," said Ward.
Fears of compliance were also a factor on some IT managers' minds, but this was sharply split geographically.
Asian companies worried less than their European counterparts, but US companies were most concerned. A quarter of US managers expect to have to comply with a disclosure request within the next year.
Security no longer top IT concern: Symantec
By Iain Thomson on Jan 31, 2008 7:20AM