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  1. Changes on the technology landscape affecting security

Security Still a Hot Topic as Technology Trends Change

Several CompTIA research studies have shown that IT security is a top priority for businesses among a wide range of IT initiatives. However, that may not necessarily translate into businesses having a robust security posture or knowing which steps to take as they explore new technology models. CompTIA’s 11th Annual Information Security Trends study examines the areas that may need closer attention in order to avoid exposure.

More than 8 in 10 companies view their current level of security as satisfactory or very satisfactory. Some percentage of these companies likely do have robust security policies and up-to-date tools, especially among the 13% of companies that say they have experienced a drastic amount of change in their security over the past two years. Many other companies, though, show low levels of concern for emerging security threats and low levels of adoption for modern security defenses.

As companies utilize new technology trends, they must begin taking a new security approach. Formal risk analysis is only performed by 41% of companies, and this discipline can help inform security decisions as data is stored with public cloud providers or made available to mobile devices. Fifty-five percent of the root cause for security incidents is human error, but only 1 in 5 companies view human error as a serious concern. New technology investments will have marginal return in this area; the more effective strategy is to properly educate the workforce.

In addition to these overarching changes, new technical skills and tools are needed as well. Use of cloud systems, adoption of mobile devices, and reliance on digital data all require new security processes and products. Many companies may have started using these technologies without fully thinking through the security implications, so security changes may be taking place even as new systems are used in production.

The landscape is certainly becoming complicated, opening opportunity for channel firms. While 85% of channel firms claim some involvement in security, only 36% of firms offer security as a standalone product or service. In an environment where 75% of end users rely on more than one firm for technology needs, there may be an opening for more firms to specialize in security and ensure that every facet of an end user’s technology plan is secured.

CompTIA’s 11th Annual Information Security Trends study was conducted in two parts. End user data was collected via an online survey in September 2013 among 500 U.S. business and IT executives responsible for security decisions at their company. Channel data was collected via an online survey in September 2013 of 500 executives at U.S. IT channel firms. The complete report is available at no cost to CompTIA members who can access the file at www.CompTIA.org or by contacting research@comptia.org.