Growing threats increase need for integrated cyber protection solutions

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Acronis released its annual Cyber Protection Week Global Report 2022 which surveyed over 6,200 IT users and IT managers from small businesses to enterprises across 22 countries. It exposes some of the most critical shortcomings appearing in cyber protection practices today, examines why they’re appearing and offers guidance on how they can be fixed.

A key finding last year was that 80% of organizations ran as many as 10 solutions simultaneously for data protection and cybersecurity — yet more than half of them suffered downtime because of data loss. Clearly, more solutions do not translate into more protection.

This year, that trend intensified: while 78% of organizations globally run as many as 10 different solutions, 76% of organizations experienced downtime due to data loss — a 25% increase from 2021.

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This downtime stemmed from a number of sources, including system crashes (52%), human error (42%), cyberattacks (36%) and insider attacks (20%).

As a result, 61% of global organizations’ IT teams now report a preference for integrated solutions that replace their complicated stacks of cybersecurity and data protection tools with a single, unified console.

“As the entire world is increasingly at risk from different types of attacks, accelerating to universal all-in-one solutions is the only way to achieve truly complete cyber protection. And that’s precisely the problem Acronis has set out to solve,” says Candid Wuest, Acronis V.P. of Cyber Protection Research.

“Attackers don’t discriminate when it comes to means or targets, so strong and reliable security is no longer an option, it’s a necessity.”

Overconfidence as a trend: IT teams are overselling their readiness

Another worrying trend that is responsible for cyberdefenses lowering and increasing IT security budgets:

  • 70% of organizations’ IT managers claim to have automated patch management. However, based on any reliable industry research, only a handful of companies follow the 72-hour “golden time” for patch management.
  • 82% also claim to have ransomware protection and remediation. Yet, successful attacks occur weekly and the size of ransom demands grows each year.
  • 20% claimed to be testing backup restoration weekly. Again, not consistent with any other industry-issued data.

IT managers seem to be trying to appear better prepared than they are; but that is, in turn, misleading their managers, boards of directors, industry analysts and customers.

However, if the overwhelming majority of IT managers indeed have these solutions, they aren’t using them right: they have simply stocked their IT stacks with all of the recommended cybersecurity technologies — spending more money in vain.

The findings prove that organizations are spending more on IT security this year, but when we compare it to their overall IT budget, it becomes clear – organizations are still treating cyber protection as a “nice-to-have” not as a “must-have”:

  • Half of organizations globally allocate less than 10% of their overall IT budget on IT security.
  • Only 23% of organizations globally are investing over 15% of their overall IT budget in security — even despite the increasingly threatening cyber landscape.

Pandemic-driven spike in awareness proves temporary

Frequent backups that were fuelled by the shift to remote work are over: a third of IT managers only back up weekly, while another 25% back up monthly. Use of backup best practices is declining across the board — only 15% of organizations’ IT teams adhere to them.

Same as last year, 10% of IT managers still aren’t sure if their company is subject to any data privacy regulations — proving that IT managers, like IT users, get stuck in their ways.

According to the research, 86% of organizations globally are also concerned about the threat of increasing politically-driven cyberattacks caused by the worsening geopolitical climate — but their concern does not translate into improvements to their cyber protection.

The bottom line is that outdated approaches that professional IT teams have relied on for years are now actively failing them. A comprehensive, easy-to-follow approach is essential to achieving a more reliable, holistic protection for data, applications and systems – one that combines cybersecurity, data protection and management into one solution.

Users show concern over cyberthreats, but backup habits remain unchanged

Only one in ten users backs up daily, while 34% of users back up on a monthly basis — a staggering 41% of users back up rarely or never. Still, 72% of users had to recover from backup at least once in the past year (33% — more than once). This means that some of the users who chose not to back up have permanently lost their data:

  • 43% of users update a week or more after an update release — of those, 7% take more than a month to perform these recommended updates. A decline in response time compared to 2021.
  • While only 12% of users are following the recommended hybrid model of cloud and local backup storage, users have doubled down on cloud backup: for 4 years, we saw local backups shrinking from 62% in 2019 to 33% in 2022 — at the same time cloud backups jumped from 28% to 54%.
  • 66% of users would not know or be able to tell if their data had been modified.
  • 43% of users are not sure if their anti-malware solutions could protect against new and emerging cyberthreats.

What is seen here is a massive gap in how organizations and individuals approach cyber protection in theory — and in practice.

Commenting ahead of Safer Internet Day 2022, Anthony Di Bello, Vice President, Strategic Development at OpenText, noted that “in 2022, we face a new problem: remaining secure while hybrid working becomes increasingly more prevalent in our professional lives.” 

“Employees will continue to connect to corporate networks from a wide variety of devices, via various internet connections ranging from home networks, café Wi-Fi and offices. And so far, cybercriminals have been taking full advantage: with a triple digit increase in cyberattacks seen in the first half of last year alone. 

“The threat of ransomware, impact of misinformation, and phishing scams should be top of mind for information security professionals, employees, and consumers alike.