Information security budgets appear to be safe for the next 12 months, although the UK could be falling behind many of its rivals on the global stage because security teams do not have enough visibility into their environments, according a new study from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).
The consultancy firm's annual Global State of Information Security Survey (PDF) polled over 7,000 IT security professionals and C-level executives worldwide, and found that only a third of UK firms had an accurate record of where sensitive data is stored, compared with around 50 per cent in the US and China.
In addition, half indicated that they did not know how many security incidents their organisation had experienced over the past 12 months, compared to just seven per cent in China and 18 per cent in India.
William Beer, director of PwC's assurance services group, said that Indian companies had invested significant sums in security after negative press in the past, which could account for their improving security capabilities.
Both India and China have a large pool of security experts to undertake tasks such as log analysis which, when combined with an investment in advanced technologies, is leading to "surprising shifts in leadership" on the world security stage, according to Beer.
However, the report pointed to the recession as a key driver for increased security spending, and a reduction in the traditional misalignment between business and IT decision makers.
Nearly two-thirds of respondents expect budgets to increase or stay the same, for example, while many chief information officers and chief information security officers displayed a greater desire to take a risk-based strategic approach to information security.
"I can confirm in many of the conversations I have with my clients that they are less and less with IT and security people, and more with individuals from the business," said Beer.
"In the past there has been a significant focus on things like data protection [as a security priority], but the industry is maturing and a lot of the security people we talk to understand that taking a risk-based approach can help to justify asking for an increase in spending."
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