Where is IT in Information Security? The Interrelationship among IT Investment, Security Awareness, and Data Breaches

Research output: Journal Publications and ReviewsRGC 21 - Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

15 Scopus Citations
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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)317-342
Journal / PublicationMIS Quarterly
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2023



Data breaches can severely damage a firm’s reputation and its customers’ confidence. Firms must, therefore, continuously invest in security measures to prevent such breaches. However, the effectiveness of security investment has been questioned by both practitioners and academics. We illustrate the bidirectional dynamic relationship between information technology (IT) investment and data breaches moderated by threat and countermeasure security awareness using an eight-year panel of 311 U.S.-listed firms to provide empirical evidence that threat awareness broadens firms’ scope for addressing data-breach issues by investing more in IT than in security. Countermeasure awareness equips firms with sufficient knowledge and experience to ensure effective implementation of IT, which provides more comprehensive protection than security investment alone. Our results suggest that firms should evolve beyond the reactive mindset of solely upgrading security and begin nurturing both threat awareness and countermeasure awareness to address the underlying IT system issues that are the cause of data breaches. ©2023. The Authors.

Research Area(s)

  • Security investment, IT investment, security awareness, threat awareness, countermeasure awareness, data breach, panel vector autoregression model

Bibliographic Note

Information for this record is supplemented by the author(s) concerned.

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