Security Is Finally on the European Corporate Agenda – but the Philosophy Is Wrong, IDC Says

AMSTERDAM – JULY 20, 2000 – The proliferation of Internet access and intranet use throughout Europe has significantly increased the risks organizations face in terms of IT-related security threats. To thrive in today's ebusiness world, European companies are realizing they must have the proper security for their Internet infrastructures in place. According to IDC's latest research, three quarters of European companies indicate they have implemented some degree of security measures.


Unfortunately, the approach taken by many companies suffers in two key ways. "First, companies tend to focus on keeping the bad guys out – without considering the needs of legitimate users from both inside and outside their organizations," said Sandra Baccari Edler, research analyst from IDC's European Business Infrastructure and Technology Services program. "Second, and perhaps more important, companies often implement one or more individual security measures and believe themselves secure when in fact a cohesive, holistic security policy is required to create a truly secure environment." Companies with no security in place or those whose security is comprised of a piecemeal approach are in immediate danger of succumbing to the threat of cyber-crime. In addition, they risk losing business to competitors who race ahead of them in the e-economy.

Of companies that employ some security measures, virus detection software is by far the most popular choice with 97% of respondents citing their use of it. Not surprisingly, other security measures employed by European companies drop in popularity as they increase in complexity and cost. The implementation of firewalls, used by 67% of companies, is rather straightforward, while complex public key infrastructure solutions that require extensive management are used by only 9% of respondents. "When we examine the reasons for investing in security," said Baccari-Edler, "it is clear this investment is still very much aimed at barricading access to resources rather than facilitating controlled access. If ebusiness in Europe is to be successful, this approach will have to change," she added.

The security services market in Europe is still in its infancy, but its growth is being fuelled by a number of factors, including:

· The ebusiness explosion – The growth of ebusiness in Europe will only be sustained through the development of secure IT infrastructures. Many companies that will rely on a secure IT infrastructure for ebusiness will leave the protection and management of their infrastructures to specialized professionals.

· Increased access to company resources – Widespread access to the Internet and use of company intranets in Europe is increasingly prevalent and requires a properly secured infrastructure.

· Brand protection – As business increasingly moves from the "real" world into the virtual world of the Web, the value of a company's brand name will be one of its most important assets. Failure to ensure a secure ebusiness environment for customers will almost certainly result in depreciation of brand – something that is extremely difficult to regain – and will directly impact the company's bottom line.

Security Services: Protecting the eBusiness Infrastructure (IDC #SS03G) is designed to give an overview of the current security services market in Europe. The report identifies the key drivers and inhibitors that are affecting the development of the security services market in Europe. It also provides an overview of security elements in use at European organizations, as well as the primary obstacles and threats IT managers face in their bid to secure their organizations. Finally, this report provides advice regarding the key issues surrounding the development of Europe's security services market and provides a new conceptual model for how security should work to facilitate ebusiness. This report is available to purchase from your local IDC office.

About IDC

IDC delivers dependable, high-impact insights and advice on the future of ebusiness, the Internet, and technology to help organizations make sound business decisions. IDC forecasts worldwide markets and trends and analyzes business strategies, technologies, and vendors, using a combination of rigorous primary research and in-depth competitive analysis. IDC provides global research with local content through more than 500 analysts in 43 countries worldwide. IDC's customers comprise the world's leading IT suppliers, IT organizations, ebusiness companies, and the financial community. Additional information can be found at

IDC is a division of IDG, the world's leading IT media, research and exposition company.

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