Even though most companies have already installed antivirus software, many are evaluating new technologies to stop virus threats in 2003. According to a recent survey of 470 network managers by Aladdin Knowledge Systems Inc., an Arlington Heights, Ill. security company, new viruses and blended threats ranked as the No. 1 security/business challenge facing companies this year.

Nearly one-third (29 per cent) of respondents expected viruses to be a challenge in 2003, followed closely by threats of unauthorized network access (22 per cent). Stephen Axel, vice president of global marketing for Aladdin, says that even though anti-virus software in nearly ubiquitous in corporate America, the threats of viruses are not being taken lightly by the IT and business leaders. “This is a pain point, and it has everybody’s attention,” Axel says. “There’s still a strong demand for it.”

More than half of those surveyed (238 respondents) said their companies were currently evaluating anti-virus technology, ranking as the second most popular option behind anti-spam technology.

Spam e-mails have become a matter of growing concern to corporations because they have the potential to choke network bandwidth and clutter employee inboxes.More than 70 percent of respondents considered spam to be a “moderate” or “severe” problem within their organizations.

“The anti-virus companies are beginning to realize that spam is one of these malicious threats that can impact a corporation, and they’re developing products to reduce it,” Axel says.

All security problems, however, do not originate outside a company. Unauthorized internal network access and security budget questions also marked areas of concern, and nearly one quarter (22 per cent) of respondents said implementing security policies would be a top challenge in 2003.

Most companies (67 per cent) said they planned to increase security spending in 2003.