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Short On Staff, Many IT Organizations Feel Unprepared For New Threats

Lack of resources causes many enterprises to lose security efficiency, Symantec study says
More than half of C-level and IT professionals don't feel confident in their IT security staffs’ ability to respond to new and emerging threats, according to a study published Wednesday.

Symantec says in its "2011 Threat Management Survey" that most organizations feel short-staffed in security, leading to concerns that their ability to stop attackers is inadequate.

Forty-six percent of those who lacked confidence indicated insufficient security staff was a top factor, according to the study. A similar number (45 percent) cited a lack of time to respond to new threats for their existing staff. Overall, 43 percent of organizations worldwide reported they are somewhat or extremely understaffed. In North America, respondents were much more likely to report understaffing, with 53 percent reporting staffing challenges.

Those who lack confidence in their ability to respond to threats also reported issues with staff effectiveness. Sixty-six percent rate their staff as less than effective, and only 4 percent rate their staff as completely effective. The top three issues impacting staff effectiveness were recruiting (46 percent), retention (42 percent), and skill set gaps with existing staff (35 percent).

"We saw a strong correlation between those who said they were short on staff and those who felt their staff is ineffective," said David Dorosin, director of product marketing for the Threat and Risk Management group at Symantec. "I see those results as two sides to the same coin."

Respondents also cited other problems with security, including keeping up with changes in the threat landscape, maintaining adequate visibility of their own infrastructure, and managing security log and alert data in a timely and effective manner.

Sixty-eight percent identified threat intelligence as one of their top two concerns. Forty-nine percent ranked security visibility as a top concern. Forty-five percent reported they are concerned about their ability to properly correlate and analyze the security information and alerts that are being generated by their security systems.

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