By Hilmar Dunker

IT systems are under attack. They always have been. But recently, hackers, spammers and other cybercriminals have stepped up the pace.

Hence, it's time to move IT security higher up the corporate priority list.

Study after study shows that the security situation in many companies is precarious. Boards are aware of the risks, but there is little decisive action.

At the same time, attacks are on the rise. In a recent global survey by software firm McAfee and the Center for Strategic and International Studies, half of those polled said they had already been victims of cyber attacks. Forty percent of all companies expect a serious assault in coming years.

In Germany, the situation is even more serious than in many other countries. Symantec's annual Internet Security Threat Reportsays the country leads all other European nations in cybercrime.

The latest German-language print edition of automotiveIT finds that IT departments will have to play catch up when it comes to IT security. That's because IT budgets were severely reduced in 2009, which led to the postponement of important projects.

It is clear that these projects included measures to beef up IT security and that will cause problems.

IT security cannot be ignored and those companies that look at the issue from the perspective of return on investment are making a mistake.

IT security is like an insurance policy: You may never need it, but when you do, it can be a life saver.

-Hilmar Dunker is editor-in-chief, automotiveIT