Security Captures Attention of Data Center Managers

What keeps data center managers awake at night

In a survey of 257 senior data center managers, the Data Center Institute at AFCOM, an Orange, Calif.-based trade association of enterprise and Internet data center managers, executives, and vendors, found that the rise in terror alerts, the war in Iraq, and a number of high-profile information security incidents have made security a top concern in the data center.

AFCOM is comprised of a range of enterprise vendors, including Allen Systems Group, BMC Software, Computer Associates, Cybermation, Sun Microsystems, Imation, and senior data center managers from Cooper Tools and Illinois Power.

“The survey shows that data center managers have a definite focus on information security issues,” says Jill Eckhaus, AFCOM president, with over 70 percent of organizations saying “cyber-defense” was extremely important. Some of those lessons were learned first-hand: one-third of respondents say they were the victims of a cyber attack last year, and 7 percent said the attack was successful.

Rising security expenditures further highlight the concern. Despite the depressed economy, almost half of surveyed organizations raised their security budgets since last year by between 5 and 15 percent. One-third of company budgets remained fixed. The majority of respondents—63 percent—expect to spend between $100,000 and $250,000 on information security this year, while almost all the rest will spend $250,000 to $1 million.

One surprising finding is that despite the increased talk about homeland security by the government, manufacturing organizations as a whole outspend government agencies on security. In fact, 21 percent of manufacturing organizations spend $250,000 to $1 million, compared with 17 percent of transportation/utility respondents, and 13 percent of insurance, real estate, accounting, and financial organizations. Just 8 percent of respondents in the banking, data processing services, and government sectors were in that budget category.

Most organizations (almost 70 percent), allocate just 3 to 8 percent of their IT budget to information security, while 16.3 percent allocate 9 percent or more.

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About the Author

Mathew Schwartz is a Contributing Editor for Enterprise Systems and is its Security Strategies column, as well as being a long-time contributor to the company's print publications. Mr. Schwartz is also a security and technology freelance writer.