Study: Data Loss, Network Vulnerabilities Top Security Issues

A new survey indicates that “catastrophic data loss” and network vulnerabilities are the security issues of greatest concern for computer industry leaders today.

A copy of the survey, conducted by Milpitas, Calif.-based Phoenix Technologies Ltd., was provided to TechNewsWorld.

The opinions were gathered from industry experts, analysts and technology and government thought leaders late last month at the 16th annual Phoenix Technologies Strategy Conference, an industry gathering to discuss the current state of digital information security.

IT Issues Mounting

“Security issues continue to mount, impacting all users of computer technology and threatening the data, endpoints and networks of every organization,” said Al Sisto, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Phoenix Technologies, in an e-mail to TechNewsWorld.

Survey respondents said that to address the greater “sophistication” of cyber-criminals, current data security infrastructures need to be extended to include physical endpoints.

These blended threats and attacks are now becoming the norm, and the technology required to protect and thwart such assaults is changing and transforming much more rapidly than before. Not only does security need to start with the endpoint and be built into every device, but end users cannot be relied upon to implement the new complex security policies to keep information safe.

Survey participants identified “unauthorized access to network data” and theft of data on devices as their greatest endpoint security concerns and confirmed that endpoint security solutions are likely to help solve many of the security problems organizations face today.

Network Data Concerns

Details of the survey’s security findings include the following:

  • A seamless transparent solution for solving endpoint security concerns was determined to be important or very important by 92 percent of respondents;
  • The “greatest concern” around endpoint security was unauthorized access to network data, cited by almost half of respondents, followed by theft of data on devices, virus and malware infections and theft of devices;
  • The main security concerns companies face today were identified as “catastrophic data loss” and the acceleration of malware disruptions.

What’s more, according to almost half of all respondents, endpoint security is very likely or likely to solve many of today’s security problems. Additionally, unauthorized access and security policy enforcement were the number one and two concerns faced by organizations with mobile workforces. Moreover, security is the number one trend when it comes to mobility solutions, followed by a “cool” form factor.

This month another major IT security breach was disclosed in the United States when Iowa State University officials said someone had compromised the security of two campus computers that contained sensitive information.

Gaining Access

One of the computers held 2,500 encrypted credit card numbers of athletics department donors. Iowa State University information technology staff said the intruder could not have read the credit card numbers because they were protected by encryption.

But the second computer contained Social Security numbers of more than 3,000 Iowa State staff. Technology staff members say it’s unlikely that the intruder accessed the files with that information.

Experts say the breaches are in accord with what the survey found to be the top IT security issues.

“The survey results from industry leaders confirm the need to deliver next generation endpoint security products that enable only trusted devices to access networks and data, thereby reducing threats to property, information, privacy and productivity,” said Sisto.

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