Acronis released the findings of its second annual Cyber Protection Week survey, which uncovered a dangerous disconnect between the need for organizations to keep their data protected and the ineffective investments they’ve made trying to reach that goal.
While 2020 saw companies purchase new systems to enable and secure remote workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, those investments are not paying off. The global survey discovered that 80% of companies now run as many as 10 solutions simultaneously for their data protection and cybersecurity needs – yet more than half of those organizations suffered unexpected downtime last year because of data loss.
The findings from Acronis’ annual survey, which polled 4,400 IT users and professionals in 22 countries across six continents, dispel the myth that simply adding more solutions will solve cybersecurity and data protection challenges. Not only does investing in more solutions not deliver more protection, in many cases trying to manage protection across multiple solutions creates greater complexity and less visibility for the IT team, which increases risk.
“This year’s Cyber Protection Week survey clearly illustrates that more solutions do not deliver greater protection, as using separate tools to address individual types of exposure is complicated, inefficient, and costly,” said Serguei “SB” Beloussov, Founder and CEO of Acronis. “These findings confirm our belief that the smarter approach is cyber protection, which unifies data protection, cybersecurity, and endpoint management in one.”
Knowledge gap contributes to IT challenges
Complicating matters, there is a significant gap in awareness among users and IT pros of what IT and cybersecurity capabilities are available to them, which can cause them to lose valuable time, money, and security.
- 68% of IT users and 20% of IT professionals would not know if their data had been modified without their knowledge because their solution makes determining that kind of tampering difficult.
- 43% of IT users don’t know if their anti-malware stops zero-day threats because their solution doesn’t make that information easily available. Having easy access to such cybersecurity insights is critical to ensuring data is protected.
- A shocking 10% of IT pros don’t know if they’re organization is subject to data privacy regulations. If those responsible for ensuring data privacy don’t know they are culpable, they cannot implement strategies or evaluate the solutions needed to address the requirements. That ignorance puts the business at tremendous risk of major fines for potential compliance violations in 2021.
For anyone using multiple solutions to solve their IT and cybersecurity needs, the lack of transparency into such information only gets worse. Not only must they remember which solution provides a particular data point, they are constantly switching between consoles to find the details they need – leading to inefficiencies and missed insights.
Individuals’ lax approach to protection
The survey also revealed a staggeringly lax approach to data protection among IT users.
- 83% of IT users spent more time on their devices last year, yet only half of them took extra steps to protect those devices.
- 33% admit to not updating their devices until at least a week after being notified of a patch.
- 90% of IT users reported performing backups, yet 73% have irretrievably lost data at least once, suggesting that they don’t know how to back up or recover properly.
The efforts of individuals to protect their data aren’t keeping pace with threats, which is likely due to false assumptions (such as believing Microsoft 365 backs up their data) or a reliance on automatic solutions.
Action items for Cyber Protection Week
The challenges of protecting and securing data, applications, and systems will continue to grow in the post-pandemic world. To ensure that data is protected, Acronis recommends five simple steps:
- Create backups of important data. Keep multiple copies of your backups, with one local copy for fast recovery and one off-site in the cloud to guarantee recovery if disaster destroys your copies.
- Update your operating systems and applications. Outdated systems and apps lack the security fixes that stop cybercriminals from gaining access. Regular patching is required to avoid exploits.
- Avoid suspicious emails, links, and attachments. Most malware infections are the result of social engineering techniques that trick unsuspecting individuals into opening infected email attachments or clicking on links to websites that host malware.
- Install antivirus, anti-malware, and anti-ransomware software while enabling automatic updates so your system is protected against malware.
- Consider adopting a single cyber protection solution to have the central management and integrated protection needed to meet today’s IT requirements.