Security-related helpdesk calls up – and so is IT security spending, says Cisco poll

November 14, 2006

Security-related helpdesk calls are rising sharply, with organizations planning to boost security spending next year to protect workers, new research shows.

The study, commissioned by Cisco, surveyed the activities of over 1,000 home workers and 1,000 IT decision makers this summer, spanning ten countries including the United States, United Kingdom, France and Germany.

According to the research, 38 percent of IT decision makers reported increases in security-related helpdesk calls, with blended spam and phishing attacks the most frequently recorded issue. More than half (52 percent) of all IT respondents said the rise in helpdesk calls was related to this combined threat. Other issues reported included viruses infecting work devices, identity theft and hacking.

As a result, two of three (67 percent) IT respondents said they expect their security-related IT budgets to increase next year. Furthermore, 41 percent of those surveyed predict security spending to jump by more than 10 per cent.

According to Jeff Platon, vice president of security solutions marketing at Cisco, these results relate to the responses of the same workers who took part in two studies last month.

The studies showed that two-thirds of remote workers were aware of security concerns when working remotely, but still engaged in risky online behavior. The research also found that employees felt their managers had more authority to control their use of corporate devices than IT staff.

Platon said: "The correlation between these results and the research released last month is hardly a coincidence. It's not surprising that IT is in a reactive mode fielding more helpdesk calls and spending more on security."

According to John Stewart, Cisco CSO, business leaders need a unified commitment to ensure a "security savvy culture."

"Technology is an important element in security, but security is first and foremost a human exercise. There's an interpersonal aspect that involves communication and an unwavering commitment to education, training and acknowledgment," he said. "Combine strong IT-user relationships with technology solutions, and IT transforms into a strategic, consultative presence that drives the formation of a security-conscious corporate culture."

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