Privacy Act changes to impact security spending: Gartner

Funds may be reallocated to improving privacy, says analyst

Gartner Australia research director Rob McMillan.

Gartner Australia research director Rob McMillan.

Changes to the Privacy Act 1988 which come into effect in March 2014 could see a shift in security spending, according to Gartner Australia research director Rob McMillan.

The Australian government passed the Privacy Amendment (Enhancing Privacy Protection) Bill 2012 in November 2012 which will give privacy commissioner Timothy Pilgrim new powers, including the right to seek civil penalties in the case of serious breaches of privacy.

McMillan said that the changes represent an escalation in privacy risk.

“Some funds might be reallocated or privacy might be a topic that gets greater boardroom focus,” he said in a statement.

“The bottom line, as always, is to know what your risks are and then address them. If one of those risks is the possibility of a huge fine from the privacy commissioner or loss of customer confidence arising from loss of personal information, then this is an issue worthy of a response,” said McMillan.

In June, Gartner released a report which forecast that the Australian security technology and services market will reach more than $1.7 billion in 2013, up 12.2 per cent from $1.5 billion in 2012.

According to McMillan, spending on security has been relatively well protected in Australia over the previous two years as the global financial crisis hasn’t put the same downward pressure on security budgets.

“Some reforms that are now taking place, such as changes to the Privacy Act, will add further impetus to the consumption of services,” he said.

He added that security spending patterns tend to differ across industry verticals with financial services and government traditionally the biggest spenders on security in Australia.

“However, the natural resources sector is where we are seeing the biggest growth this year. Some clients in this industry are now actively developing new security programs where they haven’t really had them before and are hiring chief information security officers,” McMillan said.

Spending had increased because resources companies were aware of the value of the intellectual properties assets they have such as mining opportunities and insider information, he said.


From a mobility perspective, McMillan said that enterprises are rethinking how they manage security.

“The potential consequences for even simple mishaps, such as the consequences of the new privacy changes, will bring home to decision makers just how easy it is to lose sensitive information when it is sitting on a tablet.”

According to McMillan, the personal nature of these devices will help make security more visible to decision makers and easier in some ways for security professionals to get mobility issues on the table.

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU, or take part in the Computerworld conversation on LinkedIn: Computerworld Australia

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