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The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered a rethinking of investment priorities for organisations around the globe, forcing IT decision-makers to make critical choices about whether to reallocate funds from long standing IT security projects, evidenced in SCC’s latest IT Insights Report for IT Security.

The report, based on the opinions of 550 IT decision-makers from 11 different sectors about the impact of COVID-19 on IT security, asked what priority area the IT budget is focused on now compared with before the pandemic and showed significant increased in end user device security (78% increase), identity and access management (16% increase) and cyber security (9% increase).

Each of these areas have become higher priorities in the IT budget post-COVID-19 as a direct result of the widespread homeworking to adhere to social distancing measures put in place by the Government. For every single homeworker, it is vital organisations provide education on how to remote work securely to protect their employees and the businesses against cyber threats, requiring more focus and increased budget priority.

The long-term view

Similarly, organisations need robust security resilience – the increase of homeworking, use of new applications and more devices, means there are lots more components for organisations IT security teams to be aware of and routes external threats can access networks. IT teams have worked tirelessly under immense pressure to keep businesses protected in the short term, but now is the time to ensure long-term cyber and information security and enable organisations to thrive again. With organisations having reduced resources, more and more are looking at service providers to do this work for them.

The reallocation of IT security budget suggests IT decision makers expect the business effects of COVID-19 be felt for years to come. There has been a shift in perception of the biggest security threats when comparing views pre lockdown to post lockdown, with ransomware (up 32%), resource theft (up 52%) and dependency on cloud services (up 24%) expected to be larger IT security threats in five years’ time, as cyber criminals look to capitalise on the rapid pace at which businesses had to adapt to a fast-evolving landscape brought about by COVID-19.

The challenges ahead

The scale of the IT security challenges ahead is emphasised in a Gartner report, ‘7 Security Areas to Focus on During COVID-19’, exploring key IT security threats, including incident response plans and protocols that might become obsolete or need to be adjusted, given that most of the security and risk team is now operating in completely different environments. This is particularly pertinent as SCC’s IT Insights Report reveals 22% of organisations do not currently have an incident response IT security function, whilst 50% of these are now considering a future provision by outsourcing – almost double the number that said the same thing before COVID-19.

Gartner also predicts a fall in overall IT budget, advising IT decision-makers to ensure what budget they do have is focused in the right areas to cope with the changing face of work and evolving threat landscape. For organisations facing IT budget cuts, Gartner advises minimising investments and prioritising on operations that keep businesses running, including robust IT security, in the short-term. Whilst some longer-term cloud-based business transformation projects may be put on hold, Gartner sees businesses heading for the cloud in a big way over the next two years, with 2022 cloud spending reaching levels analysts hadn’t previously expected would be attained until 2023 or 2024.

SCC’s security solutions can help you on this journey, identifying security gaps, developing appropriate safeguards, and proactively managing on-going risk to keep you and your organisation protected. We work collaboratively, getting to know your people and processes to build a complete picture of requirements. Our experienced team of security experts work with you to meet your requirements, from cloud to managed security. And we continually invest in our capabilities. Our security solutions fit within your business strategies and are designed to help you improve and strengthen your security posture across your entire organisation – ideal for responding to unforeseen incidents such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

Find out more about SCC’s security solutions here.

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Related articles:
SCC Security Brochure – Managing the security impact of COVID-19
UK businesses committed to IT security despite COVID-19 challenges
IT Security: 6 ways to protect your business from within
IT Security: The long-term view post-COVID-19

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