By Daniel Hunter

Around 50 per cent of companies globally, and an even greater percentage in the USA are unaware of, and don’t take effective measures against, the most pressing cyber threats that exist today.

According to a survey conducted by B2B International on behalf of Kaspersky Lab, half of companies are not knowledgeable about the potential security threats they may face.

A significant number of key IT specialists surveyed were not aware of any of the most common cyber threats - including those targeting the corporate sector, while 31 per cent of respondents admitted they had never heard of any of the cyber epidemics that recently posed direct threats to their organisations.

A further 58 per cent of the IT professionals surveyed highlighted a lack of resources into both staffing and improving IT security systems, reducing the organisations ability to cope with cyber security threats. This was mainly due to poor understanding among senior managers of the reasons why IT departments exist — that is, their objectives and the reasoning behind them.

Results from the survey also revealed that 35 per cent of companies have insufficient numbers of personnel trained to deal with IT threats — an issue particularly prevalent in North America. However, this problem cannot be dealt with simply by hiring new employees; existing staff also need to be educated.

This is emphasised by the low level of computer literacy among employees, which can lead to confidential information leakages, and to the infection — or even total disablement — of a company’s IT infrastructure. Therefore teaching staff the basics of IT security should be no less important than installing the latest security software.

“Companies shouldn’t underestimate global cyber threats. This issue has started to be taken seriously of late, and businesses have begun to worry, leading to increases in the number of IT staff working specifically in IT security (now about 40 per cent of IT staff in companies all around the world)," Eugene Kaspersky, CEO and co-founder of Kaspersky Lab, said.

"However, IT security staff are not always sufficiently trained and competent to protect businesses from the most pertinent threats. This is why our goal, as a leader in the IT security industry, is not only to produce solutions, but also to raise awareness.

“Increasing the level of computer literacy among staff is an essential element of security, while senior management needs to be fully aware of the potential consequences of cyber threats, and understand that reliable protection of the corporate network is vital in ensuring the effective development of a company’s IT infrastructure.

"Through our global education projects we promote the importance of IT security - its importance not only to individual companies, but to whole economies. Cyber criminals can destroy the normal business environment; they could prevent future global development and bring on economic and even political collapse. We are here to stop this happening, and are confident of doing so.”

The Global IT Security Risks survey canvassed more than 3,300 senior IT professionals from 22 countries who influence IT security policy and also have a good grounding in general business matters. The study gathered their views on the major issues facing the industry. Respondents represented companies of all sizes from across the globe.

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