Why Security Matters Now

Social networking and cloud computing threats abound, our annual Global Information Security Survey finds, making information security important once again to business leaders.

Today's most compelling technologies are giving you the biggest security headaches. Social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn enhance collaboration and help your company connect with customers, but they also make it easier than ever for your employees to share customer data and company secrets with outsiders.

Virtualization and cloud computing let you simplify your physical IT infrastructure and cut overhead costs, but you've only just begun to see the security risks involved. Putting more of your infrastructure in the cloud has left you vulnerable to hackers who have redoubled efforts to launch denial-of-service attacks against the likes of Google, Yahoo and other Internet-based service providers. A massive Google outage earlier this year illustrates the kind of disruptions cloud-dependent businesses can suffer.

But there's also good news. Even though the worst economic recession in decades has compelled you to spend less on outsourced security services and do more in-house, your security budget is holding steady. And more of you are employing a chief security officer.

Such are the big takeaways from the seventh-annual Global Information Security survey, which CIO and CSO magazines conducted with PricewaterhouseCoopers earlier this year. Nearly 7,300 business and technology executives worldwide responded from a variety of industries, including government, health care, financial services and retail.

See the complete survey results here.

Check out how we got the numbers.

These trends are shaping your information security agenda. "Every company worries about protecting their data, especially their client data," says Charles Beard, CIO at Science Applications International Corp. (SAIC). "Under the old business model, everyone had to get together in the same building in the same geographical area. Now everyone is using the Internet and mobile devices to work with each other. That's where we see the promise of things like social networking. The flip side is we're exposed to the dark side of cyberspace. Adoption of this technology is well ahead of efforts to properly secure and govern it."

Read on to learn what we found.

Top IT Security Priorities

New investments are focused on protecting data, authenticating users

1. Biometrics

2. Web content filters

3. Data leakage prevention

4. Disposable passwords/smart cards/tokens

5. Reduced or single-sign-on software

6. Voice-over-IP security

7. Web 2.0 security

8. Identity management

9. Encryption of removable media

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Bill Brenner

CIO (US)
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