Over the past 12 months, funding shortages have overtaken viruses and hackers as the number one security concern for businesses, according to research by Ernst & Young.
Belt-tightening after a year of stock market turbulence and poor economic performance is placing renewed pressure on IT departments to align their spending with business objectives.
Fifty six per cent of the companies surveyed cited a shortage of funds as the most serious security obstacle, ahead of skills gaps and a lack of management commitment and awareness.
Hopes that tougher competition and new business demands would release funds for new projects have been dashed during the past 12 months, and there is no sign of an imminent recovery, said Ernst & Young.
The survey questioned whether organisations use their IT security budgets effectively. Nearly 50% of respondents admitted that their security spending is not closely aligned to their business objectives.
"In the current economic climate, it is critical that businesses have processes for identifying security threats and vulnerabilities and determining how to prioritise spending to get the most effective coverage," said Jan Babiak, managing partner at Ernst & Young.
Only 33% of businesses give priority to employee awareness and training - one of the most cost-effective ways of addressing security. "We regard the human capital part of the equation as very important in addressing information security and deserving of far more consideration," said the Ernst & Young report.
For the full report go to www.ey.com