Over half of all organisations will increase their cyber-security spending this year, with almost a third of them planning to boost their cyber-security budgets by 10 to 20 percent, eSecurity Planet's 2019 State of IT Security survey has found.
The detailed survey of CEOs, CIOs and IT security professionals at a large number of organisations of all sizes also noted that over half of all organisations (57 percent) are also planning to hire additional IT security professionals this year. The renewed spending on cyber-security has been driven mostly by the fear of data breaches and the arrival of new privacy regulations such as GDPR.
Michael Kerner, a senior security editor for eSecurity Planet, said that the responses to the survey indicate that organisations are responding to the challenges and are not idly sitting by waiting for the next breach. According to the report, in order to counter increasingly sophisticated attacks and protect data from breaches that could lead to steep fines under the EU's GDPR, organisations have begun purchasing security products in large numbers.
CEOs, CIOs and security professionals interviewed by eSecurity Planet said that while IT services companies are looking to buy the latest web gateways, network access control, DLP, deception technology, UEBA, phishing simulation and patch management solutions, leading business services firms are going for DLP, SIEM and DDoS protection solutions.
While one in four CEOs, CIOs, and security professionals at organisations trust network access controls the most, 24.2 percent of them are planning to deploy DNS filtering solutions, 20.8 percent are planning to deploy antivirus solutions and another 20 percent are planning to deploy web gateways.
However, many organisations are also shunning some security solutions as they believe such solutions are ineffective against emerging cyber-threats. While one in four IT security professionals do not trust phishing simulation products, 20 percent are unconvinced about the effectiveness of breach and attack simulation (BAS) technology.
The report also noted that while two-thirds of organisations are conducting penetration testing at least once a year, another 60 percent are also conducting threat-hunting exercises annually to prepare for cyber-attacks. They are doing so to address their concerns about database security, advanced persistent threats (APTs), DDoS attacks, insider threats and ransomware.
Even though it is encouraging to note that over half of organisations are willing to invest their money in securing and protecting customer data, almost 70 percent of organisations that are hiking their budgets are mid-sized or large organisations, indicating that a vast majority of small businesses that process customer data are either unwilling or unable to increase their cyber-security budgets or hire additional IT security personnel.
Security Planet also noted that of those organisations that will be unable to increase their cyber-security budgets this year, 62 percent are companies that employ fewer than 100 staff.
Commenting on the survey's findings, Ilia Kolochenko, CEO of High-Tech Bridge, told SC Media UK that spending more does not necessarily means spending better as doing so lures organisations into a false sense of security considering that many organisations still do not have a risk-based, long-term cyber-security strategy to allocate necessary resources and authority within the security team in a consistent and coherent manner.
"Few organisations have an up-to-date and comprehensive inventory of their digital assets, leaving many systems and applications without maintenance or updates. The problem is aggravated by IoT proliferation, BYOD, cloud and data sharing with third-parties. Ultimately, today very few organisations have a holistic control over their data.
"They increasingly spend more, but often the increase is spent on general expansion of IT infrastructure (eg, they need more or upgraded licenses from the same vendors), rather than the higher priority of cyber-security in their corporate risk mitigation plan.
He added that scared by exorbitant FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) in the media and from some vendors, organisations’ desultory spend on various consultants to attain paper-based compliance often ignore practical aspects of security. They distract their security personnel from more important tasks thereby skyrocketing their susceptibility to data breaches.
"Eventually, cyber-security professionals start suffering from burnout and their productivity falls. I believe that with a proper cyber-security strategy, most organisations will not only manage to handle their cyber-security without new hires, but will manage to cut [unnecessary] cyber-security spending," he added.