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4/29/2010
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Study: Application Security Not An Enterprise Priority

Seventy percent say their organizations don't consider application security a strategic initiative, Ponemon Institute survey finds

With all of the attention and education surrounding secure coding practices and Web attacks, you'd think it would be sinking in to enterprises by now, but not so much, according to a new survey: Only 18 percent of IT security budgets are dedicated to Web application security, while 43 percent of budgets are allocated to network and host security.

"The State of Application Security" report by the Ponemon Institute and commissioned by Imperva and WhiteHat Security, published this week, found that 70 percent don't believe their organizations allocate enough money to securing and protecting their mission-critical Web apps. In addition, 55 percent said developers are too busy to fix security issues in their apps.

"Overall, the results of the study confirmed things WhiteHat and Imperva have believed and recognized for quite some time. The vast majority of attacks come through applications -- in particular, Web applications," says Stephanie Fohn, CEO of WhiteHat.

The survey found that 34 percent of major vulnerabilities are not fixed, and 38 percent said they believed it would take more than 20 hours of time for a developer to fix one bug.

Brian Contos, chief security strategist at Imperva, says organizations find it easier to get budget money for network security, mainly because it's been longer and is not as "abstract" as Web threats, such as SQL injection and cross-site request forgery (CSRF). "A number of organizations say, 'We get this, but we are having a hard time making it a strategic initiative in our organizations.' It's been a difficult battle for them," Contos says.

Meanwhile, the report found that proactive organizations spend two times as much on application security than nonproactive ones -- 25 percent of their total IT budget. More than 40 percent of proactive organizations run Web application firewalls, versus 21 percent of the nonproactive ones.

The full report is available here for download.

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Discuss" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message.

Kelly Jackson Higgins is Senior Editor at DarkReading.com. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise Magazine, ... View Full Bio

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