IT executives claim that they are more aware of their organisation's security risk than 12 months ago.

According to the nCircle 2011 information security and compliance trend study of 563 respondents in the IT security industry, 66 per cent said that they were more aware of risk than a year ago, while 48 per cent said that the economic downturn has impacted security initiatives in their organisation.

Also, a quarter (26 per cent) said that their biggest security concern was meeting compliance requirements and 91 per cent said that they believed that the number of data breaches will increase this year.

Elizabeth Ireland, vice president of strategy marketing at nCircle, said: “It's not good news that the rapid increase in the threat environment doesn't correlate to an increase in the security initiatives necessary to counter balance growing risk.

“On a positive note, this is the second consecutive year security teams believe executives are more aware of security risks. This trend should translate to greater executive focus on security initiatives, increased support for security policy enforcement and a stronger focus on securing business processes.

“Greater executive awareness is also likely to bring a deeper focus on measureable results across all security investments. Security professionals that can accurately measure the performance of security investments and communicate those measurements across the enterprise will be in the best position to leverage the increase in executive attention.”