Employee-Empowering Technologies Raise Security Stakes for Organizations

Cloud computing, mobility, social tools and other technologies that put more power in the hands of individual users pose new challenges for organizations seeking to secure data, devices and networks.

The majority of companies in CompTIA's 10th Annual Information Security Trends study attribute human error as a contributing cause of security breaches, just as they have in the previous nine years of the study. What's changing, however, is that the human element is no longer confined to malware, phishing and viruses.

Cloud computing options force end users to consider how data is handled outside of their organization. Unauthorized mobile applications and mobile malware strains are becoming more prevalent. Social networking is a growing factor affecting organizational security.

Four out of five companies expect to keep security as a high priority over the next two years, with large companies more likely to do so than their small and medium counterparts. Along with growing concern over increasingly sophisticated and targeted cyber-attacks, changes in IT operations have also prompted new security approaches.

In dealing with these changes, 41 percent of organizations report a need to help their security staff close moderate or significant gaps in security expertise, with the deficit most pronounced in areas such as cloud security, mobile security and data loss prevention. The impact of these deficiencies is felt in several ways, including being unaware of where the company is exposed, loss of business as a result of security issues with customer data and costs incurred for training the current workforce.

A net 49 percent of companies say they intend to hire security specialists, including those that also plan on training current staff. Executives have a strong preference for security professionals with industry certifications. A full 84 percent said they experienced a positive return on investment in security certifications, with certified staff viewed as more valuable because of their proven expertise and ability to perform at a high level than non-certified staff.

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