Computer Security a Necessary Cost of the Future

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Speaking to a group of CEOs and CFOs in Omaha last week, Mary Pat McCarthy, KPMG's vice chairwoman of information, communications, and entertainment business, warned the executives of the ongoing need to budget for computer security systems.

Her message was that hacking is here to stay, and that the cost of not protecting your company's on-line presence can be astronomical. The "I love you" virus that circulated last year, for example, cost businesses throughout the world $10 billion in damage to computer systems. Overall, it is estimated that businesses lost $1.6 trillion last year in computer down time resulting from security breaches and virus attacks from hackers.

Ms. McCarthy theorized that, "the majority of security problems in the United States happen from within (companies). Some of the most prolific hackers are business people who do it for economic gain or sometimes political gain.

"Just ask your customers if they don't expect (seven-day-a-week, 24-hour-a-day) security and absolute predictability with your system," Ms. McCarthy said. "The right kind of security allows you to grow as fast and proliferate as you want."

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