External IT security risks are increasing

Over two thirds (71.8%) of organizations believe that the IT security risks they face from external sources has increased. This is the key finding of annual industry research undertaken by SAP and Turnkey Consulting.

The survey also found that 38.2% of respondents had experienced a fraud incident in 2013, up from 31.3% in 2012. In addition, in the past year, 30% had experienced a data loss that affected business operations, up from 17.1% in 2012.

To combat these risks, control activities, designed to prevent or detect exceptions in a business process, can be automated, and 55% of respondents said they used some automated controls and planned to increase the number. This figure was up from 50% in 2012.

However, despite the increase in risk, the role of IT security in reducing it does not appear to be well-understood. When asked about their organization’s position with regard to investment in IT and systems security:

  • 17.5% responded that it was seen as an unnecessary expense only undertaken to keep auditors happy, up from 12.2% in 2012.
  • 37.5% believe that it was essential business practice that can deliver ROI, but this was down from 43.9% in 2012.

The research also indicated that there is still a reluctance to regard IT security as a business issue:

  • 57.5% of respondents believed their organization saw it as everyone’s responsibility, down from 64.6% in 2012
  • 40% of respondents reported that their organization regarded IT and systems security as the sole responsibility of IT, up from 28% in 2012.

“Corporate SAP systems are accessed from an increasing number of touchpoints, both inside and outside the organization as employees adopt mobile working, and enterprises look to enhance third party relationships with suppliers and customers,” explains Richard Hunt, managing director of Turnkey Consulting.

“Although this streamlines business processes, it increases the risk to the enterprise, as reflected by the key findings of this year’s survey. An end-to-end approach to security is required to fully secure the organization’s systems and data, so it is concerning to see that IT security is still not perceived to be an integral part of the business,” Hunt added.

The research also outlined how key technology trends were viewed from a security perspective, with key findings as follows:

Outsourcing: 67.5% of organizations are proactively planning for and managing the IT security risk around outsourcing, up from 53.7% in 2012.

Big Data: 39.5% of organizations planning to invest in big data technology such as HANA are also intending to invest in additional security, up from 25.9% in 2012.

Mobile: 48.7% of organizations planning to invest in mobile strategies will include investment in additional security, up from 50% in 2012.

Cloud computing: 40% of organizations planning to invest in cloud computing will include additional security in their plans, up from 38.8% in 2012.

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