Two-thirds of IT security pros surveyed expect a breach to hit their company, report

Investing in new mobile, automation and cloud technologies is paying off for today's enterprises.
Investing in new mobile, automation and cloud technologies is paying off for today's enterprises.

While most organizations believe providing workers with the best technology is imperative to business productivity, many struggle to optimize agility owing to traditional security mindsets, according to a new study by Okta.

In its first "Secure Business Agility" report [download], the global identity and device management provider with U.S. headquarters in San Francisco, found that failing to adapt and upgrade security tools is putting organizations at risk. In fact, more than two-thirds of the 300 IT and security professionals queried for the study believe that a data breach will occur within the next 12 months unless they upgrade legacy security solutions.

Organizations are split whether security is enabling or compromising productivity and agility, the study found. Just over half responded that their current security solutions compromise productivity, while just below half believe their security measures enable the organization to adopt best-of-breed solutions that enable productivity and agility.

Another determination from the study was that visibility into application use is limited, with 85 percent of IT leaders admitting that they don't have a clear idea of who has access to applications within their organization. Perhaps even more troubling, 80 percent of respondents cited weak passwords or weak access controls as a security issue.

On the brighter side, however, investing in new mobile, automation and cloud technologies is paying off for today's enterprises, as 92 percent of those surveyed said their organization could do more to integrate and support cloud applications into their infrastructure and systems.

“In order to be more productive, organizations worldwide are investing in cloud and mobile technologies, enabling their staff to work from virtually anywhere,” David Baker, CSO at Okta, said in a statement. "But this isn't enough to ensure true agility. As organizations become increasingly connected, the traditional idea of the enterprise network boundary is vanishing and businesses need to prioritize strong security."

Breaches get in the way of productivity, so naturally a lack of security plays a significant role in hindering productivity levels, Andrew Bagrin, CEO and founder of My Digital Shield (MDS), a provider of security-as-a-service (SECaaS) for small businesses, told SCMagazine.com on Tuesday.

"Certain security precautions always seem to get in the way of or slow down overall productivity," Bagrin said. 

For example, he pointed out that everyday actions – such as locking our front doors before we leave the house, needing to wear a seat belt, stopping at red lights – all take a toll on productivity, but only in a perfect world. 

"In both the real and cyber worlds that we've come to know, productivity is ultimately slowed if certain security levels are not in place," Bagrin said. "Companies need to focus their efforts on implementing security, and have precautionary steps in place to help provide support where the impact is very minimal but the protection is at a maximum." 

It's not an option anymore to not have security, so the question of does it impact productivity shouldn't be asked, he said. "The question that we should be asking instead is: How do we implement security in an effort to minimally impact productivity and maximize security?"

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