There’s some good news and some bad news about IT security. The good news is that a majority of IT leaders say their companies are as safe, or safer, from data-security threats, as compared to one year ago.
That’s according to a recent SilverSky study that breaks out what to expect on the IT security spending front in 2014. Some 81% of the respondents said that their company’s security profile is in good shape.
But the price of keeping up with security threats is on the climb. An online environment that’s dense with threats is the new normal. And that explains why companies will spend approximately $67 billion to lock down their data this year. By 2016, the price of keeping business info safe is expected to climb as high as $86 billion.
As for the new and emerging threats, another recent study, this one released as part of the Georgia Tech Cyber Security Summit, indicated what’s on IT leaders' minds when it comes to protecting data in 2014.
Top Five Threats: Security and Performance
It’s a different IT landscape than it was five or six years ago. The cloud has come to dominate security concerns, and Georgia Tech’s report only drives that point home. Some key threats outlined in the study:
1. Mobile Devices: They’ve been on the list for several years running, and they’re not going away. Platform-specific security is getting harder to implement, and gated apps aren’t a sure bet against infiltration.
2. Data Control: IT professionals said that losing control of cloud data via file sharing and other cloud services would be a primary threat in 2014.
3. The Internet of Things: Connected but potentially insecure devices are high on the list of problems, too. If anything, 2014 promises more of them, and potentially more openings for attacks.
4. Malware: Malicious software that uses the cloud to steal business information is another major concern.
5. Encryption Slowdowns: While data encryption offers security advantages, IT professionals worry about the loss of flexibility and access to information that can come with it.
And how are IT admins going to spend their security budgets? SilverSky suggested some trends:
Protecting Data in 2014
Chief information officers are still dealing with on-site networks, and 67% will still be attached to appliance-based network security solutions, according to SilverSky.
Most expect a 10% budget hike overall, parts of which will be allocated to deal with security weak spots.
- 37% of IT leaders said they’ll increase their budgets in the area of e-mail security tools.
- 59% said their company uses –and would continue to use and pay for– a hosted e-mail security system.
Why the continued reliance on hosted solutions?
The study points to one answer: “Hosted e-mail security tools … require less up-front investment by following predictable, scalable pricing models,” it suggests. That means “requiring a smaller slice of the ‘budget pie’ while enabling CIOs to become more creative and flexible in securing their assets.”
But that may not be possible for long. With the advent of the cloud and the permanence of the mobile-device equipped employee, every IT leader is going to have to make decisions about security and these kinds of tools, sooner or later.
The only question is whether 2014 will be that year.