CSOs lack faith in protective measures

A new poll by CSO magazine reveals that 63 per cent of chief security officers and senior security executives are not confident that the United States can protect its critical infrastructure and citizens from harm by terrorists and nation states. The poll, which surveyed 271 security executives, found that organizations are taking steps to secure their employees, facilities, and information assets in anticipation of possible physical and cyber attacks.

More than one-third (35 per cent) of security executives surveyed reported that their organization had increased its security investment because of the war in Iraq. Close to half (45 per cent) of those surveyed said they were enhancing or strengthening badge security procedures, and 45 per cent are exercising and testing establishing emergency procedures in response to the war. Forty-one per cent of respondents said they are increasing their monitoring of computer systems and stepping up their LAN/network security (30 per cent). Companies are enhancing their screening of inbound mail and packages (34 per cent) and are beefing up perimeter security by means of concrete barriers and fencing (29 per cent).

As a result of the Threat Condition Level rising from elevated (yellow) to high (orange), 50 per cent of the organizations surveyed are preparing to execute contingency procedures, such as moving to an alternate location or dispersing their workforce. Close to half (48 per cent) of security executives surveyed are coordinating security efforts with Federal, State and local law enforcement and 37 per cent have restricted access to certain facilities to essential personnel only in response to the heightened Threat Condition Level.

Only 18 per cent of security executives polled said the war would have a negative impact on their company’s bottom line, and of those companies, most believed that it would result in a loss of revenues of less than 10 per cent.

When asked about the U.S. Department of Homeland Security guidelines and their personal response to the war, 40 per cent of CSOs report that they have stored enough food and water for at least three days, and 38 per cent have a family plan to communicate in the event of a disaster. Only 6 per cent have purchased duct tape and plastic sheeting.


CSO magazine’s poll was conducted on March 26, 2003. Subscribers to CSO magazine that held senior-level security titles were invited to take the survey. Results shown here are based on the responses of 250 security executives. Eighty-seven per cent (87 per cent) of the respondents are in organizations with 500+ employees.