A survey identified cybersecurity as the biggest challenge smaller organizations face today (59%), with 49% more concerned than they were six months ago.
Network attacks topped the list of concerns (38%), followed by ransomware (33%), software vulnerability exploits (27%) and use of unsecured networks (25%). On the plus side, 73% either agreed or strongly agreed that remote workers were better at following security best practices than they were a year ago. Nearly half of respondents (49%) also noted that workers have returned to office.
The JumpCloud survey polled 1,221 IT decision-makers in the UK, U.S. and France at organizations with less than 2,500 employees.
The survey also found that more than half of respondents (55%) worked for organizations that use biometrics for employee authentication, with 31% identifying biometrics as the most secure form of multi-factor authentication (MFA), followed by one-time passcodes texted to a mobile device (26%) and a verification application (24%). However, 60% also noted that additional security measures generally created more cumbersome user experiences.
Nevertheless, a total of 80% of SME IT administrators personally used biometrics to secure personal devices. Face recognition (73%) and fingerprint readers (79%) were the most popular, with voice recognition used by 35%. A full 62% said they used their personal device to access work-related IT resources and perform work-related tasks.
Nearly two-thirds (64%) also relied on a password management tool or platform, with 10% planning to implement one this year. Cost is the biggest factor for those who didn’t use password management, with 46% reporting it wasn’t a spending priority and 23% reporting the cost would be too high.
Chase Doelling, principal strategist for JumpCloud, said the survey makes it clear that IT teams at organizations that can’t afford to find or retain dedicated cybersecurity professionals are more focused than ever on cybersecurity. The challenge they encounter is finding a way to leverage automation to manage security operations alongside other IT workflows, he noted.
Overall, the survey also found that IT budgets have increased to enable IT teams to cope with increased responsibilities. A full 80% reported IT budgets increased over the past year, with 13% seeing more than a 20% increase. Nearly two-thirds (64%) said they expected their IT budget would increase over the second half of 2023. Only 9% expected their IT budgets to decrease.
Despite increased economic headwinds, only 35% of respondents said they believed their organizations would cut spending on cybersecurity this year, while nearly half (49%) said they believed there would not be any cuts. More than three-quarters (77%) also agreed or strongly agreed that they would prefer a single solution/tool to do their jobs versus managing different offerings.
Naturally, more organizations will rely more heavily on artificial intelligence to streamline the management of IT and cybersecurity. There’s no doubt that forthcoming innovations will make it simpler to achieve that goal, but in the meantime, IT teams within smaller organizations will struggle to defend against cybercriminals who are already leveraging automation to launch more sophisticated attacks at scale. The hope is that AI will soon tip the odds in favor of the defender.
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