Vendor View: Where's the risk in a recession?

A financial crisis is not the time for organisations to become lax about the value of their information security assets.

As the economy dips into recession, industry analysts are predicting IT spending as a whole to decrease. This is no surprise. News of a slowing economy traditionally sends businesses into a panic, with owners looking around to see what can be cast aside to recession-proof the business.

Certainly, cost cutting in a depressed economy is a necessary evil, and is one of the means open to restore profitability. However, cutting costs without an overall plan can have disastrous consequences.

There is no doubt that planned cost cutting can help to restore profitability. However, one area of business that should be off limits to cuts is the trimming of the information security budget.

A financial crisis is not the time for organisations to become lax about the value of their information security assets. Gartner studies confirm that firms should not be quick to cut security budgets in deteriorating economic conditions.

The industry analyst firm found at its recent European Identity and Access Management (IAM) Summit that IAM remains an essential concern, and a key to meeting the more-rigorous governance, compliance and risk management requirements that will emerge from this crisis.

Firms that relax their Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC) activities are unlikely to be prepared when a breach or other negative outcome occurs

Depressed economic conditions lead to increases in fraud and identity theft which places growing pressure on businesses to protect their information assets from a targeted attack which could threaten their very existence.

Businesses need to be vigilant at all times as complacency is an omnipresent threat to any business. However, many threats become more prevalent during tough economic times and -- combined with less money that firms have available to spend on securing their defences and shore up their GRC programs -- can cripple organisations, forcing some of them out of business.

History shows the levels of identity theft and fraud increase when the economy slows down. People tend to go into survival mode, with some willing to engage in criminal activities to ride out the recession.

Advances in technology and the millions of people exchanging personal information or conducting business transactions over the Internet have made it easier for cybercriminals to steal the identity of unsuspecting Web users.

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