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3/25/2010
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CEOs Paying Attention To Security, Study Says

CIO is the person most frequently held responsible for data protection, Ponemon survey says

Top-level executives are beginning to grasp the importance of security, according to a study published today.

Eighty-one percent of C-level executives think that investing in a security strategy can greatly reduce or mitigate the risk of data loss or theft, according to the survey of 115 C-level executives in the U.K. conducted by Ponemon Institute and sponsored by IBM.

"In the face of growing security threats, business leaders are finally recognizing that a strong data protection strategy plays a critical role to their bottom line," says Dr. Larry Ponemon, chairman and founder of Ponemon Institute. "Today, C-level executives believe the cost savings from investing in a data protection program is substantially higher than the estimated value of recovering from a breach."

Seventy-seven percent of C-level executives reported that their organizations have experienced a data breach at some point, while all respondents disclosed that they have had their data attacked in the past 12 months. Seventy-six percent think that reducing potential security flaws within business-critical applications is the most important aspect of their data protection programs.

C-level executives believe good data protection practices can support important organizational goals, such as compliance, reputation management, and customer trust. Only a small percentage of the CEOs surveyed, just 18 percent, are very confident that their organizations will not suffer a data breach within the next year.

Executives in the study estimated the average data breach cost per compromised record at about $250. CEOs estimated that cost to be closer to $300 per compromised record.

Three-quarters of respondents reported that one person is considered to be in charge of data protection for their organizations. That person is considered by most to be the CIO -- especially by the CEO.

More than half (51 percent) of C-level executives believe the purpose of data protection programs is to increase brand or marketplace image.

"We are witnessing C-level executives implement security strategies at a much higher rate than ever before," said Daniel Sabbah, general manager of IBM Rational.

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