Security pros say serious mobile device and social network breaches are rare

RSA Conference released the results of its recent survey of security professionals regarding issues like cloud computing, mobile devices and social networking. The final study includes responses from C-level professionals, security engineers, analysts and architects tasked with weighing in on security technology investments within their respective organizations. While mobile and Facebook security attacks provide hot topics with the media, as a whole, respondents communicated no knowledge of these types of attacks affecting the overall productivity and safety of their organizations to date. Close to all respondents (93.2%) answered “Yes” when asked if allowing employees to connect their personal mobile devices to the corporate network poses a security threat to their organization, but only 1.8% reported a “serious incident” as a result of an employee’s mobile device use.

These percentages followed a similar pattern when respondents answered Facebook related questions as well, with 83.6% considering social media sites a security concern, while only 1.9% identified a social network attack or leak as having directly affected their organization.

In an attempt to uncover some of the concerns at the root of the high number of respondents designating cloud computing as a major security priority in the year ahead, RSA Conference also questioned respondents in regards to their company’s cloud timeline, type of cloud services expected to be used and number one overall security concern associated with moving data to the cloud.

The survey found that 82.6% of respondents expect their organizations to move at least some of their business processes to the cloud over the next 12 months, with 84.1% noting that they expect SaaS to be their cloud model. When considering their number one cloud security concern, close to half of all respondents (46.2%) chose “controlling access to data,” with 28.8% selecting “compliance.” Conversely, “data assurance” and “identity brokers” were of lesser concern, with only 7.6% of total respondents choosing these categories (see Chart 2).

With over half (56.9%) of the total number of respondents anticipating that their 2011 security budgets would increase from the previous year, the security concerns associated with moving to a cloud model appear to be backed by accompanying technological investment.

When asked what technology investments were the highest priorities for their organizations over the next twelve months, in addition to cloud computing (49.2% of respondents), respondents cited application security (47.7%), endpoint security (44.6%) and authentication (41.5%), with mobile wireless security also being noted as crucial to about one third of respondents (32.3%).

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