The past 12 months have highlighted numerous cybersecurity challenges, as companies adapt to the “new normal” of remote and hybrid working, including increased vulnerability and new risks.
To better understand these dynamics and the context of the current business and security landscape, we collaborated with the International Data Corporation (IDC) to ask small-to-medium and large businesses in six countries across Central & Eastern Europe (Russia, Poland, the Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, and Romania) about their cybersecurity strategy.
Conducted from September to November 2020, the cross-industry study surveyed security and IT professionals and business leaders, revealing that security has escalated in importance.
9 in 10 companies plan to maintain or increase their security budget in the coming 2 years, according to the research.
This commitment will be important: the survey also found that over half of businesses currently do not have a comprehensive security strategy in place, despite a significant majority of respondents saying they were ‘satisfied’ with their organization’s current security.
Security that helps, not hampers
Many companies have already recognized that the shift to remote working has the potential to increase vulnerability, with 79% of respondents pinpointing secure access to corporate networks from the home office or other remote location as their main area of focus, replacing perennial number one endpoint protection (69%).
However, many other well-recognized cybersecurity threats, including ransomware, malware, and phishing attempts, also remain concerns, serving as a reminder that any approach to securing a business and its digital assets has to be both comprehensive as well as agile.
As companies look to up-level their security strategy, a key consideration is the built-in security capabilities of the technology infrastructure and applications they use and how effective they are working together. Organizations are looking to enhance compliance with security policies, including streamlining how workers sign into systems, to avoid the risks and inefficiencies associated with having a patchwork of different tools. platforms and process.
Cloud-based solutions are gaining popularity
86% of businesses indicate satisfaction with their security measures, yet the majority lack comprehensive security strategies. This may mean some have a false sense of security, especially looking forward. It’s vitally important that security is managed dynamically to maintain protection from threats that are constantly evolving, and attacks that are becoming more sophisticated every day.
“To that end, cloud solutions are increasingly seen as the way to go, with 54% of respondents saying that they plan to migrate to the cloud within two years. This shift bodes well for businesses looking to stay agile in their approach as cloud-based solutions typically more secure and offer faster security upgrades,” said Andrey Savchuk, Head of Enterprise Sales for Security, Compliance and Identity, Microsoft CEE.
Equipping employees to safeguard security
The survey also highlighted an increasing importance for both employees and IT pros to have up-to-date skills.
In 2020 most organizations (54%) only provided security training on an ad-hoc basis. However, this looks set to change as businesses are prioritize skilling as a key path to enhancing their security. The survey found 68% of companies plan to provide cybersecurity training for employees within the next two years; with 56% focusing further on increasing technical knowledge of IT.
Future-proofing security postures
The past 12 months have brought unprecedented change to every part of the way we work and stimulated many organizations to accelerate their digital transformation. The survey findings highlight the need for a proactive approach to cybersecurity to match that rapid evolution.
Managers in Europe expect that only 5% of employees will return to office work permanently. In order to mitigate the risk involved in securing a remote workforce, business leaders need to support their employees; both with education and awareness-raising around cyber hygiene and, most of all, by providing tools that limit the harm while still enabling them to do their jobs.
Technology, such as the cloud, will have a key role to play in shaping future-proof cybersecurity practices, at a time when digital possibilities continue to shape the ways in which we interact, work and do business.
As we’ve said before, here at Microsoft we are “for defenders, with defenders, and we are defenders ourselves” and we look forward to partnering with customers throughout the region in ensuring secure environments for companies to operate, recover and grow.