In a time when companies are rationalising and re-calibrating their IT budgets, security is one area that will not feel the blade of the cost-cutting scalpel.
Meta Group recently conducted a test to see how secure companies' data was. Analysts ran a wireless frequency interception program, Ecson, on a laptop, placed it in the boot of a car and drove down a major city street. "We picked up over 30 organisations' networks, including government departments and a range of verticals," said Paul Ventura, managing director of the Meta Group Asia-Pacific, at a symposium held in Sydney last week.
"Penetration varied from just being able to see that the network was there to cases where we were able to connect."
The results are an alarming indictment of the inadequacies of the security measures taken by many organisations. Such a demonstration would be an effective selling tool for security service providers, allowing them to illustrate how unsafe a company's data is and the company's need for their services.
The new privacy legislation dictates that for companies that have an annual turnover of more than $3 million, directors and executives must personally pay the Federal Government $40,000 for each security breach. In addition, the company must pay a collective fine of $1.1 million for each breach.
Furthermore, public exposure of an IT security infringement can adversely affect a company's stock price, according to Ventura.
Analysts believe these ramifications provide an enormous incentive for companies to invest in security solutions, with subsequent opportunities for the channel.
A lack of awareness about the effects of security breaches and an ignorance of technology's weaknesses are two of the reasons why companies are failing to meet privacy standards, Meta said.
Companies cannot gauge their own security requirements, are not aware of the risks they are exposing themselves to and are uncertain about the level of investment required to stymie those threats, Ventura said.
For more on the impacts of privacy legislation on the IT security channel, see the upcoming February 20 issue of Australian Reseller News.