RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK — You would think that in these post 9-11-01 days that chief information officers and chief financial officers could find common ground on one issue:

Disaster planning.

Not hardly.

A new survey says that 30 percent of corporate IT systems are not prepared for a cyber attack.

Amazingly, 33 percent of companies surveyed told the Internet Security Alliance and the National Association of Manufacturers that cyber security is not a visible priority.

What planet are these executives living on?

In many companies, CIO and CFO fight more often than Crossfire’s James Carville and Robert Novak. In tight budget times, the fights are worse over funding IT upgrades vs. money for sales and marketing — or conserving cash.

But in today’s world, what’s to debate? Perhaps the cost or what plan and software/hardware solution. Not the need for protection.

Executives from more than 200 firms were surveyed — from small to global — and 88 percent said they were conscious of the need for security and planning.

The other 12 percent must be the living dead.

Perhaps executives should think about security this way: If you don’t have life insurance, who pays the bills when you’re gone?

If a terrorist strike or a hacker attack hits your company, Mr. CFO and Ms. CEO, who pays the bills?

Local Tech Wire asked Kirsten Tyler, one of our contributors, to talk to companies about the need for so-called contingency planning. We published her two stories today (check our Front Page under “Breaking News”.) And at the B2T conference in Raleigh next week, a panel will debate the issue. She points out how a well-prepared hotel was able to salvage crucial information after the World Trade Center attack. Many companies were not.

And who is to say when, where or how the next terror attack will occur?

It could be a hacker assault, a nasty new worm, or perhaps a “dirty” bomb.

If your company’s facility is hit, do you have backups stored at a secure, secret location like the “cave” where Vice President Dick Cheney is taken on a periodic basis?

Executives ought to think of security and contingency planning about as often as they plot their next sale. After all, if the enterprise is turned into trash or crashed, what’s there to sell? Preventing a virus and having backups ready in the event of a disaster (natural or otherwise) are wise investments.

VC or no VC?

Some companies just choose to say “no” to venture capital, either bootstrapping firms themselves, or getting loans from friends and family, or even using credit cards. Why? They just don’t want to deal with the hassle of VCs looking over their shoulder on every dime spent while also surrendering a good size portion of their ownership equity.

At tringlerPR’s “Meet the Media” event on Tuesday, a local exec told me his one experience with a potential investor was enough for him.

His company wanted to spend $5,000 for a CD burner sometime back. The potential investor said no. Note I said “potential” investor. The entrepreneur was told that no capital expenditures could be made while the investor was mulling whether to put in some cash. And he was told that if an investment was made the investor would be involved in all such decisions.

No thanks, the exec said.

It wasn’t long ago that another startup, which has raised millions in VC, told me they couldn’t advertise in a magazine because the VC on the board said no.

We’re talking about a $1,500 ad.

What’s your horror story on security or VCs? Or, VCs, tell us why you have to watch spending so closely. Send feedback to

Rick Smith is managing editor of Local Tech Wire.