New research from Kaseya shows how IT groups at SMBs are faring as IT management demands grow in both number and complexity. The survey, based on input from nearly 1,300 global respondents, revealed a number of emerging trends, indicating that change is afoot in the IT operations landscape.
Security remains top concern for second year in a row
This year’s data highlights that for most IT organizations the biggest concern continues to come from the ever-evolving modern threat landscape. Data breaches have serious consequences for SMBs, and if not handled correctly, can decimate the business. The survey found that one in three SMBs have experienced a security breach in the last five years and over one in 10 within the last 12 months.
As a result, it’s no surprise that security remains the top IT priority for SMBs with 54 percent citing it as their main concern in 2018, up 14 percent from 2017. Looking ahead to 2019, nearly 60 percent of respondents anticipate security to be their primary concern in the coming year.
Heavy focus on backup
There is a direct correlation between deploying an optimal backup and disaster recovery solution and maximizing uptime. In light of the previously stated IT security priorities and growing concerns over data breaches, respondents also cited data backup and uptime as critical to their operations.
Eighty six percent of respondents reported that they experienced at least one IT network outage lasting longer than five minutes over the past year, and 45 percent reported having two to four outages lasting longer than five minutes. Fortunately, it is possible to mitigate the potential impact of downtime with an effective multi-prong backup strategy that organizations are readily engaged in. When it comes to backup and recovery, 90 percent back up servers and another 69 percent back them up both locally and onsite.
What’s more, almost 40 percent reported they run automated disaster recovery and have a formal, management-approved business continuity and disaster recovery plan in place. On average, respondents rely on four backup and recovery technologies, demonstrating the critical nature of these solutions.
Increased SaaS adoption: SaaS applications are a natural fit with Microsoft Office 365 leading the way as the most deployed solution (72 percent) followed by Dropbox (29 percent) and Salesforce and Google Suite both coming in with 17 percent. While turning to a SaaS-based-application provides the functionality that SMBs need, organizations own their data and with that comes the responsibility of data protection — unless they opt to outsource that as well. Slightly more than half of the survey’s respondents use a third-party vendor to protect at least some of their data.
Compliance is key, yet still underestimated: PCI and HIPAA/HITECH are the most common compliance requirements respondents adhere to, comprising 64 percent. Though now underway, GDPR showed that it is still a new standard that global companies are coming to grips with as only 11 percent of companies adhered to it at the time of the survey commissioning.
Endpoint auditing remains strong: Eighty four percent audit endpoints as part of their asset management processes. Of those, 68 percent track operating system information, 64 percent track installed software, and almost half track software licensing data (48 percent).
Overall IT strength development: As IT influence grows, understanding where strengths lie is critical to informed decision making about what must be improved or outsourced. When asked to rate effectiveness in optimizing IT efficiency, the following technologies and strategies were the most common areas of expertise: centralized antivirus/anti-malware scanning (77 percent), data storage and backup (75 percent), server monitoring (68 percent), centralized patch management (63 percent), and remote device access/control (61 percent).
“Technology today has leveled the playing field between SMBs and their enterprise counterparts—to the point that the size of an organization has lost much of its previous importance. Smaller IT organizations can better compete, but with that comes the realization these organizations have the same challenges the enterprises face,” said Mike Puglia, chief strategy officer, Kaseya.