Security provider RSA, today revealed a survey in advance of its annual conference next week found hackers still pose the biggest threat for CIOs.

Out of all the IT security priorities and fears being faced in the next six months, the survey uncovered identity management as the single biggest concern for organisations, with one third of respondents listing it as their single most important priority.

And web viruses pose more of a threat than email-borne ones; while 29% ranked email viruses as their most significant threat, web viruses were listed as the most significant at 68%.

Other key findings included the task of configuring firewalls is the single most time consuming for the IT Department, accounting for over three hours work per week for half of all IT professionals questioned.

Mobile phone and instant messenger-borne viruses register little concern in the minds of IT Professionals, where 64% ranked mobile phone viruses as the least significant threat. Fifty percent of respondents placed IM-based viruses next at the bottom of the list.

“The rapidly evolving nature of IT security places constant pressures on
security professionals,” said Tim Pickard, RSA Conference Europe director. “As this survey shows, the IT director can never stand still with new threats emerging and priorities being constantly reassessed. Where email viruses once dominated, web viruses are now becoming more significant with mobile phone viruses still waiting in the wings.”

The RSA Conference Europe being held in Nice next week will look at how to securely maximise the opportunities presented by the internet as its theme.