A survey of IT managers across Europe has found that a majority worry their jobs would be at risk in the aftermath of a breach in company security.

A total of 21 percent of IT managers surveyed even saw the task of securing their companies from attack as being more stressful than starting a new job, getting married or divorced, or having a minor car accident.

The survey carried out on behalf of security company Websense found that top of the list of job-threatening worries was Internet security, which was cited by 30 percent as a concern. Following closely behind this were anxieties over intellectual property (30 percent), legal threats over copyright infringement (22 percent), bad press in the light of security problems (21 percent), and repercussions of unexpected downtime (18 percent).

Phishing attacks only worried 14 percent of those surveyed, but this probably reflects the fact that not all IT managers would be directly affected were such an attack to occur.

The level of concern is not surprising given some of the other survey findings. A surprising eight percent of companies do not have any security systems other than firewalls and anti-virus. In the UK, this figure is even higher, at 14 percent.

Top of the list of security hazards is the company laptop, with majorities in all countries seeing this as a big issue. Despite this, only a minority currently use technology to curb tackle the problem, ranging from a pitiful 13 percent of respondents in Italy to 28 percent in Germany.

That laptops have become a major security weakness is not surprising given that 69 percent of IT managers see looking after them as being the responsibility of employees.

The “Stress of Security” survey of 500 IT managers in companies of 250 people and up was carried out in the UK, Germany, The Netherlands, Italy and France.