Europeans Are Far From United On E-Security

LONDON, July 23, 2001 – Companies in Europe are divided over the potential threat to business from viruses, hack attacks and other forms of sabotage, according to research conducted by security specialist Evidian. Despite this, multinationals are still refusing to take local security issues into account when devising corporate policy.

In France, Benelux, Spain and Germany, viruses are seen as the major threat, with 40% of companies identifying this form of attack as the most prevalent. In the UK, deliberate sabotage by employees or ex-employees was identified as the biggest area of concern, while in Scandinavia over 50% claimed it was accidental damage caused by an employee. In Italy, financial fraud was identified as the biggest headache.

Evidian surveyed 250 companies in the finance, retail and public sectors in the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Benelux, Scandinavia and Spain. The company asked IT managers and directors to identify what they believed to be the main threat, which solutions are needed to deal with it, and the area of their internal systems most at risk.

The research also identified considerable differences in the areas of the business infrastructure perceived to be most at risk. In Germany and Spain, Intranets were identified by the majority of respondents as being most in need of protection, while in France, Scandinavia and Benelux it was Web sites. In the UK, 60% of companies identified corporate databases as the most vulnerable.

In terms of protection tools, firewalls and password security remain by far the most popular forms of protection across most of Europe, except in Germany where encryption is now the most recognized technique.

We wanted to take a closer look at the differences in the way e-security was approached in different European countries,” said Mark Hutchinson, European regional director for Evidian. “We discovered a number of differences among countries in the areas of concern, the methods used to combat the problems and the parts of their business that companies believed to be most vulnerable.”

“The survey shows just how important it is for multinationals to be aware of the different threats that exist in the different markets,” continued Hutchinson. “It is vital that security policies are consistent, but companies must also be prepared to localize their policies where necessary. Marketing departments are all too aware of the importance of ‘thinking global and acting local’ and the time has come for this strategy to be applied to security as well.”


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