Network managers are despairing at the failure of staff and senior management to grasp the level of damage that breaches of e-security can cause - billions of pounds in lost productivity.
Users are by far the least secure part of the network, according to a survey of chief executives and managing directors in 120 corporates. Forty-nine per cent of respondents believe their users do not even possess basic IT skills. Network managers also complained that as much as a quarter of their time is spent on routine support issues.
The report, commissioned by Network Associates, also criticises senior managers and directors. Only nine per cent of the chief executives and managing directors questioned said they took responsibility for ebusiness strategy, yet alone ebusiness security.
The report has been published just days after the latest warning of an email virus launched by playing a attachment of a Christmas carol .
"We aren't ready for ebusiness in the UK," said Nigel Todd, business development manager at Magic Solutions, part of Network Associates. "Businesses must develop the ability to construct a practical approach to ebusiness security.
"This means elevating responsibility for ebusiness to board level, providing central management of the e-security policy, and reviewing and auditing the security policies they put in place and investing in their security strategy. It also means educating staff on security issues, how it works and why it is important."
Of the 81 per cent of businesses interviewed which claimed to have a written e-security policy, just 41 per cent had reviewed it in the past six months. Some 23 per cent admitted they have had important data corrupted, and 16 per cent said an email virus had crashed their server.
In North America, businesses forfeited a total of about 6822 person-years (defined as one person working a 24-hour-day, 365-day shift) in productivity in the past 12 months because of e-security issues. This was due to security breaches, an unplanned downtime rate of 3.3 per cent, and virus-attack cleanups totalling $1.6tn, according to a report from accountant PriceWaterhouseCoopers.
While no comparable UK figures have been published, it is clear that billions of pounds are at stake in e-security.
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