Pressure’s mounting for IT departments: Trustwave

IT professionals are feeling more under pressure than ever, thanks to a wave of security threats, high expectations from executives, and new technologies entering the workplace, according to a new survey from security solutions provider Trustwave Holdings Inc.

Comparing 2013 to 2014, 58 per cent of respondents said they feel more pressure to ensure their companies are secure. The survey polled 833 IT decision-makers in Canada, the U.S., the U.K., and Germany. While the bulk of the survey’s respondents were based in the U.S., 101 of them were from Canada.

Within Canada, the number of respondents feeling more pressured was a little lower, at 54 per cent. But for many of the Canadian respondents, there were still serious concerns around possible threats, the biggest one being malware and advanced persistent threats among 63 per cent of those polled.

Another 51 per cent said they felt increased pressures to defend against data loss, theft, and breaches. However, interestingly enough, 74 per cent of Canadian respondents said they feel their organizations are safe from data breaches and IT security threats.

Fifty-eight per cent said they were worried about phishing and social engineering. Forty-seven per cent said they were concerned about zero-day vulnerabilities, while just 36 per cent said viruses and worms were a problem.

What was also interesting was that 60 per cent of Canadian IT decision-makers were asked to roll out a project at least once or twice in 2013, knowing the project had security issues. Another 16 per cent said this has happened frequently at their organization, though 24 per cent said this hasn’t happened in the past year.

“It makes total sense, because Line of Business is pushing to get their revenue producing, or their efficiency application technology out the door, because that’s what they’re measured on. The IT guys and the security teams are always trying to slow those products down because they’re trying to get good security in the project at the same time,” says Leo Cole, Trustwave’s general manager of security solutions. “There’s always been that conflict. I don’t know if the IT professionals themselves can do much about that.”

Even so, it seems as though the heads of organizations are becoming increasingly wary and more security-savvy than they have in the past, especially as more and more headlines continue to surface about high-profile data breaches at retailers and tech companies.

That leads to directors and C-level executives demanding to know more about security and asking their IT department to be more vigilant, Cole says.

But when that’s coupled with the desire to embrace the newest technologies, like cloud, mobile, and a bring-your-own-device policy, IT administrators can feel as though they’re being stretched thin. About 66 per cent of Canadian IT administrators said they would ideally like to double the number of IT staff within their organizations. Fourteen per cent said they’d like to quadruple their headcount.

However, for many IT staffers, that’s wishful thinking, as they’re working with limited resources and budgets and expected to do more with emerging technology.

That led to about 47 per cent of Canadian respondents saying they plan to work with managed security services providers to take over some of their IT duties, although 67 per cent said they currently manage those responsibilities in-house.

Trustwave’s full report on IT security pressures can be found here.

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Candice So
Candice So
Candice is a graduate of Carleton University and has worked in several newsrooms as a freelance reporter and intern, including the Edmonton Journal, the Ottawa Citizen, the Globe and Mail, and the Windsor Star. Candice is a dog lover and a coffee drinker.

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