A majority of IT security professionals believe that outsourcing technology jobs to offshore locations has a negative impact on network security, according to a survey released Tuesday.  

In the survey of 350 IT managers and network administrators concerned with computer and network security at their organizations, 69 percent of respondents said they believe outsourcing negatively impacts network security, nine percent said it had a positive impact and 22 said it had no impact.

The survey, conducted this month by Amplitude Research and commissioned by VanDyke Software, a provider of secure file transfer solutions, found that 29 percent of respondents’ employers outsource technology jobs to India, China and other locations.

Of those respondents whose companies outsource technology jobs, half said that they believe doing so has had a negative impact on network security.

Sixty-one percent of respondents whose companies outsource technology jobs also said their organization experienced an unauthorized intrusion. In contrast, just 35 percent of those whose company does not outsource did. However, the survey noted that organizations that do outsource were “significantly” more likely than those that do not to report intrusions.

“We’re not going to say we have any proven cause and effect,” Steve Birnkrant, CEO of Amplitude Research, told SCMagazineUS.com on Tuesday. “Correlation doesn’t prove causation, but it’s definitely intriguing that the companies that outsource jobs offshore are more likely to report unauthorized intrusions.”

In a separate survey released last December from Lumension Security and the Ponemon Institute, IT security professionals said that outsourcing would be the biggest cybersecurity threat of 2009.

In light if the recession, companies are outsourcing to reduce costs, but the practice opens organizations up to the threat of sensitive or confidential information not being properly protected, and unauthorized parties gaining access to private files, the survey concluded.

In contrast to their overall views about the impact that outsourcing has on network security, Amplitude/VanDyke Software survey respondents were largely positive about the impact of outside security audits. Seventy-two percent of respondents whose companies paid for outside audits said they were worthwhile investments and 54 percent said they resulted in the discovery of significant security problems.