Study finds inconsistent IT security levels

A report into the way in which businesses and organisations in the UK comprehend and consequently deal with the threat of cyber attacks and the activities of criminals and terrorists, has found a worrying discrepancy between awareness and action.

Conducted by the Ponemon Institute, the survey took answers from leading IT security specialists from a variety of organisations and, while 69 per cent said that they were anticipating cyber attacks, under a fifth claimed that they were able to respond with adequate support from their peers.

Fifteen per cent of respondents said that collaboration in the event of an attack would involve not only fellow organisations but also governmental intervention.

The survey was conducted on behalf of electronics giant HP and spokesperson, Peter McAllister, said it was clear that many leaders were anticipating attacks on critical systems and data, without actually taking the initiative and preparing for these eventualities.

More than 50 per cent of those questioned said that their responses would be carried out independently of other organisations, while almost 20 per cent claimed that they lacked any form of unified security strategy.

Mr McAllister pointed out that even among those firms who said they operate a collaborative plan involving their peers, there is no consistency in these agreements, with personal relationships usually ensuring the bonds, rather than policy and procedure.

Mr McAllister believes that the government is confronted with a significant hurdle to surmount when it deals with privatised firms which are nonetheless integrated into the UK’s critical national infrastructure (CNI).

Experts hope that with half a billion pounds of extra funding for the government’s cyber security sector, there will be a greater effort to identify how the CNI relates to various disparate organisations and how these tenuous links can be best harnessed in the event of a cyber attack.

It is thought that while the government is taking positive steps to tackle the risks posed by cybercriminals, foreign states and international terrorist groups, public and private sector organisations also need to adopt a stance, which not only shows their awareness of threats, but their readiness and ability to react in the event of an attack.

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