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European Businesses Concerned About Security of Voice and Data Networks: Just 2% Believe Wireless Encryption is Totally Secure

03-17-2004
  • Survey highlights that nearly half of European organisations may not have adequate protection from voice and data security threats

Over half of businesses in Europe could not confirm satisfactory levels of security on their voice and data networks according to a new survey commissioned by Avaya.

Over half of businesses in Europe could not confirm satisfactory levels of security on their voice and data networks according to a new survey commissioned by Avaya, a leading global provider of communications solutions and services for businesses. The survey, carried out by research company GTMI, showed that just 2 percent of respondents said they believe wireless encryption is totally secure, while 46 percent said they had never conducted a formal risk assessment of its voice and data security networks.

 

The survey was conducted in Germany, the Netherlands, Italy and the UK across organisations of 250-1000+ people and includes names such as n-tv Nachrichtenfernsehen, one of Germany's leading TV stations and Cassa di Risparmio di Volterra, an Italian bank.

 

Whilst enterprise security has grown in importance as a boardroom topic, the exact nature and variety of risks is not fully known to all companies. Over half of respondents demonstrated a clear lack of awareness on what their security concerns should be.

 

When asked about top security concerns, 64 percent ranked hackers at the top of the list, while over half (59 percent) of those questioned believed that their voice and data networks were equally protected. The lack of unified standards, and a clear roadmap for the industry point to the need for clear security policies, and ultimately for an industry body to lead the debate on security standard unification.

 

Cat Maben, principle security consultant, Avaya Europe, Middle East and Africa, commented: "Businesses in Europe are still concerned with security issues that have been well publicised in the media, such as hacking but many are still not aware of the real risks that are affecting voice and data networks daily. Unlike security in the data world, standards do not exist for voice networks. Avaya knows the risks and is keen to encourage the implementation of standards for converged communications and is calling for European companies to look at concerns specific to their business by undertaking formal risk assessments."

 

Maben added, "Security, for data or voice, should not be provided on an ad hoc basis either. Assessments need to be held regularly to ensure that operations are quickly protected against new threats. According to our survey, we are seeing that this is not the case, out of those companies that did undertake an assessment, 39 percent did so over a year ago, making their findings practically obsolete."

 

The survey indicated distinct geographical findings:

  • UK and Italy are most up to speed with security concerns;
  • The UK had the highest number of respondents to formally conduct an overall risk assessment of their voice and data networks (67 percent);
  • Italy, has the most formal policies, procedures and security standards to adhere; over 80 percent had formal polices already in place regarding voice and data network security;
  • 69 percent of respondents from Germany and over half of those from the Netherlands had never formally conduct an overall risk assessment of voice and data networks.

 

"Recent crises have encouraged IT administrators to wrongly believe that security equals anti-virus protection and it has sucked money from longer term development into fire-fighting," says Graham Titterington, senior analyst and security expert with Ovum. "So little is new, and yet we are so surprised by what has happened."

 

The financial services sector is probably one of the most targeted in terms of security attacks. Despite this, the survey findings show that 41 percent of financial institutions have not undertaken a formal security assessment on their voice and data systems. The research also highlights that 29 percent of the institutions do not have formal policies regarding voice and data network security, leaving a significant proportion of this market unprepared for any form of severe security attack.

 

Avaya offers a full portfolio of security services for companies with voice equipment ranging from assessment architecture and design to policy review and development. It also caters specifically for the convergence issues companies looking to deploy internet protocol telephony face.

 

About Avaya

Avaya Inc. designs, builds and manages communications networks for more than 1 million businesses worldwide, including 90 percent of the FORTUNE 500®. Focused on businesses large to small, Avaya is a world leader in secure and reliable Internet Protocol (IP) telephony systems and communications software applications and services.

 

Driving the convergence of voice and data communications with business applications — and distinguished by comprehensive worldwide services — Avaya helps customers leverage existing and new networks to achieve superior business results. For more information visit the Avaya Web site: http://www.avaya.com

 

About GTMI

GTMI provides Europe-wide and global market research, analysis, training and programme support services across the routes to market business cycle. Formed in September 2001, GTMI has over 25 man years of senior management market expertise with a concentration on, IT and telecommunications, ebusiness, financial services and pharmaceuticals. Research is conducted via quantitative and qualitative studies, high level face-to-face interviewing, CATI based telephone interviewing, focus groups, Web-based and e-mail based surveys. GTMI customers include 3Com, Assuresoft, Avaya, British Telecom, Canon, Compaq, CSSA, eCompany, Elateral, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Oracle, Sun Microsystems, Symantec and Xerox.

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