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Security Concerns Keep Half of IT Business Leaders Awake at Night, According to Report

AppDirect IT Business Leaders 2024 Outlook study also explores top causes of security breaches, including human error.

Note: TDWI's editors carefully choose vendor-issued press releases about new or upgraded products and services. We have edited and/or condensed this release to highlight key features but make no claims as to the accuracy of the vendor's statements.

AppDirect, a leading B2B subscription commerce platform, has released key findings from its IT Business Leaders 2024 Outlook Report. The study, conducted by independent research firm Propeller Insights, dives into how IT business leaders feel about their security posture in a world where the technologies they embrace to grow and thrive are also vulnerable to constant and increasing threats.

AppDirect’s survey results come at a time when increased security is a growing need for organizations everywhere. According to the Gartner Digital Markets 2023 Global Software Buying Trends report, “42% of buyers say security is the most important factor when planning investment in new software.”

In the AppDirect study, 45% of IT business leaders said they experienced a security breach in the last year. As they face an increasingly complex spectrum of security threats, security anxiety is prevalent and has become a top concern.

Key findings include:

IT business leaders are prepared but feel uneasy about company security

The results show that although 92% of IT business leaders believe they’ve made the right security investments and 88% say they meet all compliance requirements, half are kept up at night over their company’s security. 

IT business leaders are checking off the right boxes when it comes to completing the tasks associated with their jobs and performing due diligence on security. However, that’s not enough to assuage their anxiety and instill confidence that they're well protected against security threats. Their top areas of concern include cybersecurity risk (58%), information security risk (53%), and compliance risk (39%).

Human error is among the top causes of security breaches

The study found that 49% of IT business leaders count human error, including those by employees, among their top security concerns. In fact, all of their other concerns -- malware, stolen data, phishing, ransomware, and misconfiguration of cloud services -- include an element of human error and/or malice. 

This demonstrates a lack of rigorous employee education and training on cybersecurity measures, making employees part of the problem rather than part of the solution.

“IT business leaders must secure their most vulnerable access point: their employees. Although there are some malicious internal attacks, the vast majority of internally enabled breaches happen when employees click on a seemingly harmless link in an email, opening the floodgates to corporate data and systems,” said Pierre-Luc Bisaillon, CIO at AppDirect. “Best-in-class training, with testing and regular retraining and testing, will go a long way to mitigate the risks of social engineering security breaches.”

Cybersecurity solutions are forecast to be a top purchase in the immediate future

IT business leaders are prioritizing security measures in 2024, with 74.4% likely to purchase cybersecurity software solutions in the next 12 months. However, they’re also likely to better vet their solution providers because 45% report they’ve experienced security or data privacy concerns related to their third-party tech vendor solutions. 

The results show that although cybersecurity remains paramount, ensuring IT business leaders find the right solution provider is of equal importance. A majority (59%) consider data security and privacy measures as top priorities when selecting SaaS providers.

“Cybercrime is a people problem and better people processes and education are the solution,” said Bisaillon. “This means ensuring assets are up to date with the latest patches, enforcing multifactor authentication and locking down endpoint security to rapidly detect and remediate advanced attacks and ensure business continuity. Getting help from experts who can analyze security gaps can help IT business leaders build a strong security strategy.”

To read the full report, please visit the Business Leaders 2024 Outlook Report download page.

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