What keeps network managers up at night?

* Van Dyke Software's 5th annual enterprise security survey

Network managers are responsible for keeping systems up and running as well as securing their environment, the latter of which causes many a sleepless night - especially when budgets are being cut.

Van Dyke Software's 5th annual enterprise security survey of 300 network administrators showed that the operations group within companies is focusing on IT security more than in the past. Van Dyke commissioned independent firm Amplitude Research to conduct the survey that revealed less than one-fourth of those polled say they can "sleep like a baby at night," compared to one-third that rested easy in 2007.

"In summary, the study results from last year showed the increasing importance of, and activities related to, securing remote access and secure file transfers," the study reads. "The 2008 results confirm the 'breakout' in 2007 from earlier years related to these subject areas, though there was some deceleration of these trends in 2008. At the same time, though, network administrators were more likely in 2008 than in 2007 to report concerns that 'keep them awake at night.'"

Survey respondents were asked to rank their top security management issues, and this year securing remote access topped the list with 50% of those polled identifying that as a concern. Keeping virus definitions up to date came in second, with 42% finding that a cause for concern. Monitoring the network (Compare Network Monitoring and Management products) for intrusions kept 40% on their toes, while secure file transfer worried about 33% of respondents. Another 30% reported they worry about patching systems (Compare Patch and Vulnerability Management products), and 27% felt challenged by password management.

Other security management issues that worried network administrators included network use monitoring (21%), user awareness (19%), user training (14%), managing logs (12%) and replacing nonsecure protocols (11%)

On top of being worried about managing security, network managers must also worry about the budget dollars allocated to IT. More than two-thirds of the network administrators said their companies sufficiently budgeted to support current information security and management needs, but fewer are feeling confident in their environments.

For example, 81% of survey respondents said they did not expect an IT budget decrease in 2008 compared to 2007, but one-third of those polled said they are aware of their company stopping, postponing or canceling IT security endeavors or projects as a result of the perceived poor economy. More than 20% of that one-third said the budget cut would represent 10% to 20% of the overall IT budget planned for 2008, and another 20% of that one-third said they expect to see a 21% to 31% cut in dollars allocated to IT.

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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