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8/31/2001
01:19 PM
Stephanie Stahl
Stephanie Stahl
Commentary
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How Vulnerable Is Your Company?

Chances are that if you're reading this you've probably experienced a security breach in your organization at some point in the not-so-distant past (and possibly at a huge cost). Or you've had a security breach and have no idea that it happened (or is happening). Or, perhaps, you're about to have a security breach. Then again, maybe your company is one of the few that has built a big enough moat to keep all of the bad people out, and maybe you have no electronic communication internally or externally.

I don't mean to be flip about this, but I think it's fair to say that most companies have some degree of vulnerability. Computer viruses are getting nastier; there's always some attention-seeking hacker looking for notoriety; and the really good hackers can remain so anonymous that you might not know they've even intruded upon your corporate or personal space. Add all of that to the fact that you're likely doing more collaboration with your business partners and customers these days, and it's difficult to imagine anyone being invincible.

But business must go on. Innovation can't stop. Business partners and customers can't be ignored. How you deal with your vulnerabilities is what counts. Now, more than ever, senior business executives are taking an active role in the fight against security threats. According to InformationWeek's fourth annual Global Information Security Survey (fielded by PricewaterhouseCoopers and completed by 4,500 professionals in 42 countries), 41% of CEOs, company presidents, and managing directors are now involved in setting security policy, and even more are involved in spending decisions. That's a big increase from last year, but frankly, I'm surprised more aren't actively involved. After all, at stake are proprietary data, employee productivity, revenue, partnerships, and a company's reputation and integrity. And if that's not enough for you, the cost of security breaches worldwide has been estimated at a whopping $1.39 trillion during the past 12 months.

In this week's cover story, senior editor George V. Hulme digs deeper into our survey data and talks to security professionals, risk managers, and CEOs about the growing threats and how they're dealing with them. Find out, too, how some are making sure their business partners' systems are up to par.

Tell us how you've changed your security strategy in the past year.

STEPHANIE STAHL
Editor
sstahl@cmp.com

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