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Research Reveals Internet Security A Major Issue


Research Reveals Internet Security Is A Major Issue
For New Zealand Businesses

Senior IT managers express concern over security breaches, hackers, viruses and decreased network capacity as a result of the Internet

AUCKLAND, February 21, 2000 - Research conducted for Symantec New Zealand and Australia by IDC Consulting (Australia), the world's leading research company, has revealed that information and network security is of paramount concern to businesses in both countries. As the quantity and value of data exchanged through the Internet and computer networks increases, organisations are becoming more aware of the risks surrounding security breaches, hackers, viruses and the distribution of sensitive material. Additionally, senior IT managers have identified that personal Internet and email usage during work hours impacts on network performance.


Top concerns for senior IT managers:
· Security of company data
· System resources and capacity
· Socially sensitive material
· Employee productivity
· Best approach to 'filtering'

Employees Internet use:
· Nearly 33% has used the Internet for personal use
· 96% of these users access chat rooms and email for personal reasons
· 37% of these users browse sexuality/sex education sites
· 32% of these users access violence/crime sites
· 65% feel filtering of Internet content is

The January 2000 study surveyed a cross section of New Zealand and Australian organisations to identify the key issues facing businesses in regard to Internet filtering and security. The research program was based on interviews with senior IT managers from large corporations, small and medium enterprises and government and education organisations, as well as interviews with employee end-users.

The research highlighted that key Internet concerns of senior IT managers include:
· Increased demands on system capacity, especially bandwidth, as a result of Internet downloads and email attachments for personal use;
· The management and legal ramifications of distributed commercially sensitive material (intentionally distributed or not);
· Employee productivity as a result of Internet and email personal use, although according to the research, overall the Internet increases productivity levels;
· The need for an appropriate solution to enable effective protection and management of company data.

"Increasingly, the Internet is linking businesses with their partners, suppliers and customers. Company data is therefore potentially exposed to a wide range of threats as it is quickly and easily distributed and disseminated internally and externally of the organisation," said Richard Batchelar, Country Manager, Symantec New Zealand. "Our research suggests that New Zealand and Australian organisations acknowledge this increased risk and realise they need a solution that provides them with a secure network."

Internet usage in organisations
A scoping study of businesses in New Zealand and Australian organisations revealed that with employees at work, over one quarter spend an average for six hours or more on the Internet while at work, with almost one third of respondents logging on to the Internet for personal reasons. 96 per cent of these employees admitted to engaging in personal interactive chat or email during work hours, and nearly 42 per cent send personal emails with attachments on a daily basis. According to the senior IT managers interviewed, this type of Internet activity not only consumes valuable time, but also valuable bandwidth and has the ability to degrade network performance for all users. Senior IT managers feel that often these users are "blissfully unaware" of the consequences of their actions.

Of those end-users who admitted to using the Internet for personal reasons during work hours, 37 per cent visit websites relating to sexuality and sex education, 21 per cent access crime websites and 11 per cent surf websites containing violent content. The senior IT managers of organisations, particularly those in the public and educational arenas, expressed concern that offensive material can potentially have a detrimental impact on the public perceptions of the organisation and the industry. Of the employees surveyed, 65 per cent agreed that it is important for businesses to filter the information available to employees on the Internet.

According to the businesses represented in the interviews, anti-virus and firewall technologies represent the most common way to currently protect networks. However, when it comes to the Internet management solutions that are now required for total Internet security, organisations either have technology that monitors employee Internet usage or no technology solution in place at all. The research uncovered that only two of the profiled organisations currently have some form of security or content filtering software installed, while four that do not either conduct or
reserve the right to conduct routine checks on employee Internet or email usage. Of all the organisations represented in the interviews, two either will consider implementing or intend to implement IT security and content filtering solutions in the next 12 months.

One of the most valuable components of an Internet filtering technology solution, according to the senior IT managers involved in the research, is a regularly updated database of inappropriate websites and the ability to customise and categorise these websites according to the needs of the company, department and individual.

In addition to deploying an IT content security and filtering solution, interviewed senior IT managers agreed that a "soft" management approach, based on education and an element of trust, will achieve a workforce willing to abide by an accepted 'code of conduct' for Internet and email usage.

"The Internet is a fantastic tool for researching essential industry and market data, but as an unlimited source of information, education and entertainment, distraction is only ever a click away," said Batchelar. "While this is an issue for organisations, what keeps IT managers on their toes are the risks surrounding security breaches, viruses entering their networks and the legal ramifications resulting from commercially sensitive material falling into the wrong hands - all of which are occurring more and more frequently. "

The very fact that managers already experience detrimental affects of the Internet in their organisations is a much wider concern because clearly, as an industry, we only beginning to realise the endless possibilities of working with the Internet."

Research Methodology
The three-part research project was conducted by IDC Consulting (Australia) on behalf of Symantec New Zealand and Australia in January 2000. The aim of the research was to expose the key issues facing organisations in New Zealand and Australia relating Internet filtering and security.
The research was based on three elements:
· A focus group comprising senior IT managers from seven Australian organisations.
Each participant had direct responsibility for their organisation's Internet and email capabilities. Businesses from major sectors of the economy were represented - large, medium and small corporations, government organisations and a range of vertical markets.
· In-depth, face-to-face interviews with networking managers from nine Australian and New Zealand organisations. Participants included the focus group organisations plus two additional. The aim of the interviews was to understand the issues relating to Internet filtering and security at the strategic level, in greater depth.
· An end-user survey with 150 telephone interviews with people who had access to the Internet at their place of work. This element of the research focused on providing insight into the use of the Internet by end users.

About Symantec
Symantec is a world leader in Internet security technology and technology solutions that help companies manage and support workforces that use laptop computers and other mobile devices.
The company is a leading provider of software products for the consumer market and is rapidly growing its presence as a provider of solutions to enterprise organisations.

Symantec is represented in New Zealand by Auckland based distributors SealCorp and Tech Pacific.

All information contained in press release is accurate and valid at of the date of issue. All content is subject to change. For the latest information about Symantec Corporation and Symantec products, please contact

Brand and product references herein are the trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders.

For further information please contact:
Matthew Drake, Corporate Marketing Nimita Morarji
Manager - Symantec Australia/New Zealand Botica Conroy & Associates
Level 2, 1 Julius Avenue Level 4, Peace Tower
North Ryde NSW 2113, Australia 2 St Martins Lane, Auckland
Phone: 00612 8879 1169 Phone: 09 303 3862
Email: Email:

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