IT security often focuses on dealing with digital threats: targeted attacks and broad-based malware are often the focus of data protection planning. However, it's just as important to physically secure your network and equipment.
Thief picture from Shutterstock
That point was underscored by a recent survey of IT and business decision makers conducted by EMC. The survey covered 3200 individuals in total across 16 countries, evenly divided between IT and business managers. (That means 100 in each category for Australia.)
In some areas, Australia performed quite differently to its global counterparts. "If we look at downtime, Australia is ahead of the rest of the world," EMC's CTO marketing APJ Clive Gold told Lifehacker. "On average worldwide we saw 59 hours of downtime per year, for Australia that was only 38 hours." That also translated to a lower annual cost from outages: $US215,776 on average for Aussies, versus $US495,000 worldwide.
A more striking difference was in the annual cost for security incidents. Worldwide that figure totalled $US860,000, but in Australia it was $964,000.
The real contrast, however, is in the causes of those incidents. In the global survey, malware and concentrated attacks on companies by outsiders were the most commonly cited. For Australia, physical theft of gear ranked at the top of the list, followed by insider sabotage. What does that mean? You need a firewall, but you also arguably need a padlock.
The disgruntled emploee "I've done a lot of round tables with security leaders and CIOs and the topic of the disgruntled employee does always come up," Gold said. :That's the most difficult to protect against technically."
That doesn't mean we can afford to be complacent about more conventional IT security measures. "The worrying thing is on average only 54 per cent of companies said they recovered data every time they lost it," Gold noted. In other words: if you lose data, the odds are close to even that you're not getting it back.
The expense figures might prove useful when you're grappling with the perennial "how do I justify the ROI on this technology?" discussion. "When you look at the average financial loss, I'm pretty sure the cost justification is going to be there," Gold said.