Growth in security holes will increase downtime

The proportion of downtime caused by security vulnerabilities will grow from 5% to 15% by 2008 unless IT departments start...

The proportion of downtime caused by security vulnerabilities will grow from 5% to 15% by 2008 unless IT departments start pressing their suppliers to tackle software weaknesses.

Vulnerabilities can be caused by weaknesses in every IT administration, process or design function, said John Pescatore, vice-president and research fellow at Gartner.

"Increasing internet activity, along with the use of web services, wireless connections and other new technologies will lead to more vulnerable configurations," he said.

"These vulnerabilities will cause increased downtime for organisations that do not put security concerns into their processes for software development and procurement."

Although organisations can significantly improve security by making basic changes to operating systems and hardware platforms, they still need to implement stopgap fixes to deal with vulnerabilities in systems used by employees, customers and business partners.

IT departments should take steps to reduce the security vulnerabilities in their own software, base their software architectures on security standards, and introduce mechanisms to reduce the "attack surface" of applications exposed to the internet, said Pescatore.

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