Syntax surveyed 500 IT decision-makers in the US on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their businesses and strategic decisions they’ll make in 2021.
2020 was a year of unexpected and rapid digital transformation for IT leaders across industries. 89% of respondents report that the pandemic accelerated their enterprises’ digital transformation last year.
As a result, IT teams are stretched even thinner implementing secure and collaborative work-from-home environments, onboarding new technologies, and managing their company’s digital transformation initiative.
“The pandemic has presented unparalleled challenges for businesses of all industries and sizes,” said Marc Caruso, Chief Architect of Syntax.
“Despite the challenges of accelerated digital transformation timelines, this year has provided many lessons for IT and business leaders. One of the most important being the optimization of the best management and security practices for our cloud-native future of working-from-anywhere.”
Outsourcing security efforts: Key findings
Outsourcing cybersecurity is an increasingly attractive solution. 83% of IT leaders with in-house security teams are now considering outsourcing their security efforts to an MSP in 2021.
Major budget and headcount cuts in IT despite increased cyberattacks and demands on IT. In 2020, 77% of IT leaders reported more frequent cyberattacks. However, many teams were ill-equipped to handle this increase in attacks, as 79% had to reduce their teams’ headcounts in response to the economic downturn.
IT leaders with internal security teams need more strategic counsel. 91% of respondents either employed their own security operations center (SOC) or in-house security talent. However, of the IT leaders with in-house security teams that are now considering outsourcing to an MSP, 45% cited a lack of strategic counsel from existing tools.
“This survey of IT decision-makers is insightful because the actions of these leaders and their companies in 2021 will set the tone for the next wave of innovation in the IT industry,” said Christian Primeau, Global CEO of Syntax.
“Between competing technical and business priorities and new remote operating environments, the pandemic has already reinvented how organizations will work for years to come. When we return to our pre-pandemic environments, IT teams will increasingly rely on MSPs and third-party partners to support more aspects of IT governance, including cybersecurity, application management, disaster recovery, cloud migration, and more.”
Increase in cybersecurity spending with 2020 spike in cyberattacks. More than half (56%) of IT leaders said they will allocate more than 40% of their IT budgets to cybersecurity in 2021. Additionally, 37% listed “improving cybersecurity protections” as their top IT investment this year.
A neglect of cloud security. Although decision-makers ranked security as the No. 1 most challenging aspect of the cloud, it didn’t register in the top cloud investments in 2021. Instead, factors tied to business continuity, like increased storage and/or flexibility (62%), multi-cloud and/or hybrid cloud capabilities (48%) and system maintenance (47%), took precedence, pointing to a particularly dangerous emerging trend — IT leaders may be confusing business continuity & disaster recovery (BC/DR) with actual cybersecurity.
Data / business analytics to substantially increase in 2021. Data analytics took the backseat last year because of the pandemic, with 42% of IT leaders reporting they deprioritized this and other business intelligence initiatives. But attitudes have shifted as more than half (55%) are planning to increase investments in this space in 2021 as they leverage growing repositories of data to drive business decisions.