Are businesses bridging the cyber security gap?

May 12, 2016
Are businesses bridging the cyber security gap?

In today’s business world, data is key. It allows companies to make decisions more quickly, maintain their competitive edge and better meet customer needs. More critical systems are being run on emerging digital technologies, letting employees use their applications on any device wherever they are. But as data becomes more valuable, it also becomes more vulnerable, and businesses are becoming increasingly exposed to sophisticated cyber-attacks. A successful hack can have serious implications, and the resulting data breach can see organisations faced with fines and reputational damage.

The threat is so serious that almost a quarter of office workers across Europe, Middle East and Africa believe the CEO should be held accountable for a significant data breach. Despite this, one in four IT decision makers (ITDMs) admitted to not actually disclosing a significant data breach to senior management. These figures come from research that we’ve carried out looking at the disconnect between the IT department and the wider business when it comes to data security.

Worryingly, the research actually reveals that cyber attacks are on the rise, with up to 37% of businesses expecting to be hit within the next 90 days. What’s more, 35% of ITDMs in EMEA believe one of the greatest vulnerabilities their organisation faces is a threat moving faster than their defences. Despite this, as our research with the Economist Intelligence Unit earlier in the year shows, less than one in ten business leaders in EMEA (8%) consider cyber security a priority for their business.

“The disconnect between business leaders and IT decision makers is symptomatic of the underlying challenge faced as organisations seek to push boundaries, transform and differentiate in today’s digital-first world, as well as secure the business against ever-changing threats”, commented Joe Baguley, CTO, VMware EMEA. “Today’s most successful organisations can move and respond at speed as well as safeguard their brand and customer trust. With applications and user data on more devices in more locations than ever before, these companies have moved beyond the traditional IT security approach which may not protect the digital businesses of today.”

At the same time, companies are increasingly having to look inwards to combat the next threat. 45% of ITDMs cited employees untrained in cybersecurity as one of the greatest security challenge the business faces. However, many of these employees are putting the business at risk simply by trying to be more productive – almost a quarter (21%) use their personal device to access corporate data and almost a fifth (17%) would risk being in breach of the organisation’s security to carry out their job effectively.

The question that businesses are facing is what can they do to effectively combat these new cyber breaches without harming wider business productivity?

The key is ensuring a multi-faceted approach. Educating the workforce about security threats and enforcing company-wide compliance policy is an important step in combatting any disconnect between IT and the rest of the business. Discussions and transparency between ITDMs and senior management is needed, and IT teams to be encouraged to take ownership of security initiatives. However, behind all of this, a software-defined approach to architecture can provide the foundation for keeping the whole business safe. Virtualization across storage, compute and networking gives the ultimate responsive infrastructure to defend against these new threats, giving organisations the strength and flexibility to fortify security from the inside out.

If you’re keen to understand the security threats facing your businesses, and how your business can better face them, make sure you’re visiting the blog regularly. Next week we’ll have an infographic with even more research on the disconnect between IT and the wider business. We’ll also be giving you our top ten takeaways from the research, so that you’ll be equipped with everything you need to ensure your IT security is equipped to deal with the challenges facing it.

Later in the year we’ll also be running a Crowdchat with a panel of industry experts. The live, online discussion will take an in-depth look at the data security disconnect, and will be your chance to ask any burning questions you’ve got about data security. So you don’t miss out, add the Crowdchat to your calendar by clicking here.

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