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Risky Business: ParenteBeard Quick Poll Reveals 1 in 5 Businesses Behind the Curve Managing Information Technology Risks

(July 09, 2012)

PHILADELPHIA, PA -- (Marketwire) -- 07/09/12 -- Despite the fact that 4 in 10 executives (42 percent) said that their information technology (IT) success is "inextricably linked" to their overall business success, one in five respondents (19 percent) said their company was "behind the curve" when it comes to managing IT risk, according to a ParenteBeard poll released today. What's more, two-thirds (67 percent) described their efforts as only "average." Additionally, only 15 percent have any kind of IT internal audit function to evaluate IT risk. The survey of more than 70 executives in the manufacturing, distribution and technology industries indicates that many businesses lack internal controls to manage IT systems, despite their increasingly prominent role in almost every business function.

"At this point, nearly every company in business today relies on IT for critical aspects of their operation," said Jeff Vrabel, leader of ParenteBeard's manufacturing, distribution and technology practice. "However, many of these companies still need to significantly improve the effectiveness of the way they manage their IT and IT risks. Lack of sufficient controls in IT has led to the string of damaging data breaches we frequently read about in the news. The companies needing improvements have a tremendous opportunity in IT if they focus on it."

The survey provides evidence that some executives are not even aware of the risks posed by their IT systems. Nearly a third (30 percent) said they never worry about suffering a data breach or any type of data loss. Meanwhile, an additional 30 percent said their company has been hacked at some point. Of that group only 6 percent has made significant upgrades to their IT security since the hacking. These findings are indicative of the fact that nearly two-thirds (61 percent) said that IT leadership never attends audit committee meetings.

"Make no mistake, if sensitive or private data is hacked, companies will suffer consequences in the form of customer backlash, lawsuits or even government investigations," said Jeff Krull, a partner in the firm's corporate governance and risk management practice. "Companies need to take an integrated approach and include their IT leadership in any discussions about risk management practices."

About ParenteBeard
ParenteBeard is ranked among the top 25 accounting firms in the U.S. A leader in providing CPA and business advisory services to small businesses, middle market companies, nonprofits and SEC registrants, ParenteBeard has 1,100 professionals located throughout the Mid Atlantic region. As an independent member of Baker Tilly International, ParenteBeard is proud to provide the highest level of service to clients nationally and internationally.

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