More organisations are rating security as a top priority compared with two years ago, although many still struggle to keep pace with increasingly sophisticated threats, according to industry body CompTIA.
The Eighth Annual Global Information Security Trends study revealed that half of organisations regard information security as an organisational priority, up from 35 per cent in 2008 and expected to grow to 62 per cent in 2012.
"Information security affects more organisations on more levels as technology permeates every functional area of a business and more staff members assume the role of knowledge worker," said Tim Herbert, vice president of research at CompTIA.
"As organisations invest in new solutions to give employees anytime, anywhere access to information, tools and collaboration, they must contend with the possibility of introducing new vulnerabilities into the security equation."
More specifically, respondents placed social networking, greater reliance on internet-based applications and increasingly sophisticated cyber criminals among the biggest threats.
Robert Rutherford, managing director of consultancy QuoStar Solutions, argued that in many organisations security is not regarded with enough seriousness until they are actually hit with an outage.
"We still haven't had the next big thing, those viruses that downed global companies for days," he said. "A lot of it comes down to the execs who don't understand or talk to IT."
Rutherford explained that the wake-up call needed for many firms to get serious about security may come with a major smartphone-based virus "because a lot of people just aren't securing them at the moment".
However, the survey revealed that organisations are also doing a great deal right. Respondents said the security landscape is improving owing to better technology (55 per cent), improved IT staff expertise (41 per cent), tighter security policies and procedures (36 per cent) and better end user training (33 per cent).
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