New research commissioned by Cohesity reveals that while most IT and security decision makers believe they should jointly share responsibility for their organization’s data security strategy, many of those teams are not collaborating as effectively as possible to address growing cyber threats.
The survey also shows that among respondents who believe there is weak collaboration between IT and security, nearly half believe their organization is as a result more exposed to cyber threats, and the implications of this could have catastrophic consequences for businesses.
The research is based on an April 2022 survey conducted by Censuswide, of more than 500 IT decision-makers and security operations (SecOps) professionals (split nearly 50/50 between the two groups) from businesses in Australia and in New Zealand – all of whom have a role in IT or security decision-making.
The survey comes as more than 2 in 3 respondents (69%) believe the threat of ransomware in their industry has increased over the past year, with almost half of respondents (46%) saying their organization fell victim to a ransomware attack. over the past six months.
The survey revealed the following results globally:
Safety should be a shared responsibility: Nearly three-quarters (74%) of all respondents (80% of IT decision makers and 68% of SecOps) somewhat or strongly agree that IT and SecOps should share responsibility for strategy data security of their organization.
However, effective collaboration between IT and security teams is often lacking: More than a third of SecOps respondents (36%) believe that collaboration is not strong with IT, with 11% of those respondents going so far as to rate it as weak. Among IT decision makers, almost a sixth of respondents (15%) think collaboration is not strong. In total, more than 1 in 4 respondents (26%) think that the collaboration between the two groups is not strong.
In many cases, even though the threat of cyberattacks has increased, the level of collaboration between IT and SecOps has remained stagnant or decreased: Nearly 2 in 5 respondents (39%) say overall that the collaboration between the two groups has remained the same despite the increase in cyberattacks. In fact, 1 in 6 respondents (17%) said collaboration had actually decreased. While only 6% of IT decision makers said collaboration has decreased, more than a quarter (28%) of SecOps respondents believe it has, highlighting a substantial disparity between the two groups.
The ongoing shortage of tech talent is making matters worse: When asked if the talent shortage is impacting collaboration between IT/security teams, nearly 3 in 4 respondents (74%) (76% of IT decision makers and 72% of SecOps) said yes , it has an impact.
Because of this lack of collaboration between IT and SecOps, many respondents believe their organization is more at risk: Among IT and SecOps respondents who think collaboration is weak between the two groups, more than half (52%) think their organization is either more exposed (35%) or much more exposed (16%) to cyber threats .
The consequences of this exposure could be devastating for businesses and careers: When asked what their worst fear would be about a lack of collaboration between security and IT in the event of an attack, 44% of all respondents fear business disruption, 43% worry about loss of data, 39% worried about customers taking their business elsewhere, 30% worried about paying ransomware, 29% worried about finger pointing and their team being blamed for mistakes, and 29% are concerned that people on both teams (IT and SecOps) will be fired.
Brian Spanswick, Director of Information Security at Cohesity, said, “This study highlights that there is often a lack of collaboration between IT and security teams that we see in many organizations today.
“For too long, many security teams have focused primarily on preventing cyberattacks, while IT teams have focused on data protection, including backup and recovery. A comprehensive data security strategy must bring these two worlds together, but in many cases they remain separate, and this lack of collaboration creates significant business risks and can put companies at the mercy of bad actors.
To dig deeper into this point, when respondents were asked how their company prioritizes data backup and protection as part of their organization’s security posture or response to a cyberattack, 53% of decision makers IT said it was a top priority and a critical capability while only 39% of SecOps respondents said the same.
Spanswick says, “If SecOps teams don’t think about backup and recovery and lack next-generation data management capabilities as part of an overall security strategy, that’s a problem.
“IT and SecOps teams should collaborate before an attack happens by looking holistically at NIST’s cybersecurity framework, which includes five core capabilities: Identify, Protect, Detect, Respond, and Recover. If they wait to collaborate until their data is hacked, it’s too late and the results could be catastrophic for businesses.
Overall, 78% of all respondents (80% of IT decision makers and 76% of SecOps respondents) somewhat or strongly agree that if security and IT worked more closely together, their organization would be better prepared recover from cyber threats, including ransomware attacks.
Additionally, when respondents were asked what would give their organization greater confidence in the ability to quickly recover business systems in the event of a ransomware attack, 43% of all respondents (50% of IT decision makers and 37% of SecOps respondents) said better communication and collaboration between IT and security is essential.