Digital Growth Exposes Firms to Complexity and Threats

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Digital transformation is exposing organizations to greater IT complexity and cyber-risk, according to new global research from Thales eSecurity.

The security vendor polled 1200 execs with responsibility for IT and data security in nine countries around the world to compile its 2019 Thales Data Threat Report.

It found that over a third (39%) class themselves as belonging to one of the two most advanced digital transformation categories defined by report author IDC. This means they’re either “aggressively disrupting” markets or embedding digital into the enterprise to become more agile.

Nearly all (97%) admitted they will use sensitive data in these emerging technologies. This is a major risk, given that traditional corporate network perimeters are a thing of the past as more fluid cloud and mobile technologies dominate.

It’s also a concern given that these new digital platforms can add greater complexity, according to the vendor. For example, 40% of firms polled are using multiple cloud platforms across SaaS, PaaS and IaaS models.

Respondents also claimed “complexity” was the number one perceived barrier to implementing data security.

It’s perhaps not surprising that 86% of the IT executives surveyed admitted their organization is vulnerable to data security threats, with over a third (34%) claiming they’re “very” or “extremely” at risk.

These aren’t theoretical risks: 60% of respondents claimed to have been breached in the past, including 34% in the past year.

Despite the risks, less than 30% currently use encryption, despite it being one of only two technologies named explicitly in the GDPR.

Organizations are splitting their efforts between different layers of the IT environment, spending on average 36% of their time on networks, 34% on data, and 30% on application security.

The report also warned that only half of global firms expect to see an increase in their IT security budgets.

“Our research shows that no organization is immune from data security threats and, in fact, we found that the most sophisticated organizations are more likely to indicate that they have experienced a data security breach,” argued IDC research VP, Frank Dickson.

“This trend is consistent no matter how we define the sophistication of the audience: those who are spending more on IT security, those for whom data security is a larger portion of their security budget, or those who are further along in their digital transformation journey.”

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