New technologies and user habits have led to changes in the security challenges IT departments face now. Here are the issues organizations are likely to struggle with most in 2012 – and what IT managers can do to help.
While malware attacks, insider fraud and other threats will always be big issues for IT departments, some new areas are emerging that IT managers must begin to cope with.
Here are three of the biggest security challenges IT is facing right now, according to a recent survey of 688 IT and security professionals conducted by the Ponemon Institute:
1. Lack of teamwork and communication
According to the survey, many critical security steps may be missed due to a lack of communication between the people in charge of IT security and those running general IT operations.
Just 12% of the survey respondents said collaboration between IT security and IT operations staff was “excellent.” Collaboration is “poor or non-existent” at 40% of organizations, and “could be improved” at the rest.
What IT managers can do: It’s important to properly align the two groups so each knows what the other needs. For example, IT management must be aware of the security segment’s staffing and other needs, and security teams must be constantly updated on the IT infrastructure in place so that all elements can be kept secure.
2. Keeping up with new technologies
Rapidly increasing use of new and expanding technologies such as cloud computing, virtualization and open source software has added new challenges as IT departments scramble to adapt their strategies to protect themselves from threats in those areas.
For example, 43% of respondents said they were worried about threats related to cloud computing — up from 18% who said the same thing last year. That number’s only going to rise as more companies turn to the cloud — 56% of the organizations surveyed said they’ll increase their use of cloud computing in the next year.
What IT managers can do: Much of the problem relates back to a lack of planning. For example, 62% of IT pros admit they have no security strategy in place for the cloud. Likewise, though 52% will increase their use of virtualization in 2012, 49% have not yet decided who is in charge of virtualization security.
Coming up with a plan now and delegating security responsibilities to the right people can help IT managers better handle the added threats that emerge due to new technologies.
3. Mobile and personal devices
In particular, one rapidly expanding tech area that’s causing a lot of security problems for IT is the increased use of mobile devices. Although 42% of organizations have employees who use personal mobile devices at work and 70% expect that use to increase, just 26% have a policy regarding those devices, and 42% admit they have no security effort in place.
What IT managers can do: To prevent situations where users can connect any device they want to the company’s network, experts recommend setting up a process where IT must approve and properly configure those gadgets first.
That enables IT to make sure devices meet security requirements and could allow companies to take advantage of mobile device management applications for enforcing policies and keeping devices patched.