Data theft passes ransomware as top concern for IT professionals


Integrity360 has released findings from a comprehensive research study that maps out the major cybersecurity threats troubling IT professionals.

Conducted between 9th-14th August 2023, the survey reveals that 55% of IT security decision-makers rank data theft as their top concern. Interestingly, ransomware, which has been a staple concern, is now relegated to third place (29%) after phishing attacks (35%).

The survey, which collated responses from 205 IT security decision-makers, showed that for CIOs (30%) and CTOs (33%), advanced persistent threats (APTs) and targeted attacks are of greater concern than ransomware (28%, 33%). These APTs are primarily devised to fulfil objectives with implications at the national level, such as espionage or the destruction of infrastructure.

Further dissection of the data reveals that data theft is the second most commonly encountered cybersecurity incident within companies, coming in at 27%. Phishing still tops the list at 46%. As a result, the need to protect sensitive data has surged, keeping nearly half of the professionals surveyed awake at night (48%).

Brian Martin, Head of Product Development, Innovation and Strategy at Integrity360 commented, “IT environments have become increasingly complex with many enterprises now employing multi-cloud strategies and multiple products, which can leave gaps in security, and see businesses paying for underutilised and overlapping tools unnecessarily. Consolidation of cybersecurity architectures can strengthen risk posture, reduce the number of tools and vendors in place, eliminating silos, reducing costs and improving overall security posture.”

The report also shows a dramatic increase in security alerts with 89% of respondents stating that they had experienced an increase over the past year. Of these, 76% indicated an increase ranging between 1-50%.

“Businesses are navigating a digital landscape fraught with risks and data theft is clearly weighing heavy on the minds of those tasked with keeping it safe. Whilst the threats continue to increase, and the alerts rise alongside, so too does the pressure on those tasked with keeping business data secure,” Martin added.

Constraints in incident response were highlighted too, with insufficient budgets (31%) being the top challenge in effective response, closely followed by complexity of incidents (27%) and lack of board-level understanding (27%).

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