The prevention of data leakage and the protection of brand reputation emerged as the chief concerns for a number of security professionals at the recent CSO Interchange event in London.

The IT security forum, hosted by Qualys, was set up for chief security officers in 2004. A survey conducted at the event found that 67 per cent of security executives do not have controls in place to prevent data leakage, despite recent high-profile data losses such as the HMRC breach last month.

Lord Erroll, a member of the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee and a speaker at the forum, believes that this particular data breach will act as a wake-up call to the government.

"With luck the missing CDs have ended up in a landfill but this fiasco will force the government to start taking security seriously and the powers of the Information Commissioner's Office will be strengthened." he said

The survey also highlighted the problems companies are facing with keeping their customers’ data secure. Of the 35 executives questioned, 60 per cent admitted to having only a vague idea as to where their customer data is stored and limited controls over it

"More than 70 per cent of the security professionals attending CSO Interchange indicated that securing their networks and therefore the confidentiality of their electronically stored data is now harder than ever." said Philippe Courtot, chairman and CEO of Qualys and co-founder of the CSO Interchange

However, the majority of the professionals recognised that managing risk and putting controls in place to keep data secure, and protecting their brands will be the most important part of any security strategy in the future.