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Security Most Pressing Issue For Readers

Security concerns you more than broadband coverage and patents. Next up: Did you take work on holiday?

Security is the number one issue facing Britain’s tech community, surpassing broadband coverage, copyright issues and government policy, according to the latest poll of eWEEK readers.

In a poll which ran over three weeks, 29 percent of respondents said that security flaws caused them more headaches than anything else. As one helpful reader pointed out, this is probably because IT security is something that affects every company in one way or another, and the recent spate of large-scale hacking attacks from groups such as Anonymous and LulzSec has put many IT professionals on edge.

Industry faces big issues

Coming in second, with 19 percent of the vote, was broadband coverage. The government has stated its ambition to provide superfast broadband to 90 percent of the UK by 2015, and this week released more details of how its £530 million investment in the UK’s rural broadband network will be distributed, meaning businesses suffering from poor coverage could soon get help.

Following close behind on 15 percent came government policy, suggesting that a considerable proportion of you think the the government’s IT strategy needs to be taken to task. You are not alone in this – the Public Accounts Committee last month released a report which criticised the government’s IT strategy for a “lack of detail”. It also warned that the history of ICT use in government has been littered with “far too many expensive and regrettable failures”.

In fourth place – but provoking the most impassioned response from our readers – was the issue of copyright and patents, with 14 percent of the vote. As tech giants such as Google, Apple and Microsoft jostle for ownership of patents and become increasingly litigious in the face of growing market competition, many us are asking when the madness will end.

As one reader Patrick Innes pointed out, most great innovations in technology have been born out of a process of trial and error, carried out by those who have gone before. “Maybe some of the economic gain we hope to get from our ring-fencing should go to the descendants of those earlier seekers of or practical appliers of knowledge or to some charity in their name, even if ‘their name’ means all of us,” said Innes.

At the other end of the spectrum, the creative industries fear that innovation is being crippled, as consumers become increasingly used to downloading free content off the web. This is an issue that the European Commission has waded in on, admitting that its own current IP rights laws are not strong enough.

“If it where just thought processes that go into making novel and unique content that we want to protect then maybe there is some sort of case of owing those who have gone before us,” another reader Sym commented. “However for many it is months and years of blood sweat and tears, and massive financial cost and burden that brings such ideas to the fore, and for some scrote to come along claiming he should have it for free is tantamount to looting.”

In joint fifth place, and with 9 percent of the votes each, came energy efficiency and cloud adoption – two issues that are often talked about and yet constantly pushed down the list of priorities. While cloud computing is without doubt the buzzword of the year, for many companies moving to the cloud is a gradual process rather than a wholesale switch. Similarly, most companies are keen to be as environmentally sustainable as possible – as long as it doesn’t affect their bottom line.

Finally, thanks to those of you who used the ‘other’ option to raise your own issues. Rising prices and job losses are of course a concern for some of you, given the current economic climate. Stolen phones was a surprising suggestion from one reader, and religion was raised by one reader as the most urgent issue facing the tech community… hmm.

Next: How much did you work on holiday?

For our next poll, we’d like those of you who have been on holiday to tell us whether you were able to leave work behind, or whether you felt compelled to check those emails while you were away.

For many of us, the mobile revolution has meant that cutting yourself off from the office has become practically impossible, and with roaming rates coming down, there are now fewer and fewer exuses not to check your inbox – unless of course you are lost at sea or you phone got stolen by pygmies…

So go on, tell us, how often did you check up on things back at the office while you were away? Once or twice per week? Five minutes every day? Or more than half an hour per day? Maybe you were working so hard that you don’t even feel like you had a holiday?

Use the poll on the left hand side of the site to tell us – and feel free to add your own answers using the ‘other’ option.