In a survey of 354 IT decision makers in the U.S. conducted by research firm Websense Inc. (Nasdaq: WBSN), a quarter of respondents said protecting their company against security threats, such as viruses and spyware, is more stressful then a minor car accident.
Where once IT managers had to resort to scare tactics in order to get management to take security issues seriously, it seems high-profile breaches at ChoicePoint, LexisNexis, and elsewhere are forcing IT into the hot seat (see Harum Scarum! and Don't Be a Data Privacy Dunce).
Now, instead of worrying about convincing the board to use tighter security, ITers are facing job threats. Nearly half of Websense respondents said that losing intellectual property following a security breach could put their jobs on the line (see Websense Reports on Security Stress). They reported the main security threats to their job stability as the following:
- Lost or stolen intellectual property, 45 percent
- System downtime due to viruses, 41 percent
- Breached Internet security, 36 percent
- Legal threats due to materials pirated by employees, 34 percent
Among specific threats identified by the IT managers was spyware. Some 65 percent of those surveyed confirmed that spyware has caused problems for their company in the past year.