On April 23 2012, global non-profit professional association ISACA rereleased a global study of more than 1,200 IT professionals in EMEA, which revealed that more than one in five enterprises had experienced a security breach and one in ten suffered a privacy breach in the last year.
A few of the problems organisations had experienced included, 35 per cent had faced inadequate disaster recovery or business continuity measures, and 17 per cent had suffered a serious IT operations incident. Unfortunately this study is not unusual in its findings and in order to avoid legal compliance issues, reputation damage and the costs involved in repairing these issues, businesses are looking at better alternatives to manage their IT business processes. One alternative which has matured over the last decade is the use of cloud based offerings such as Salesforce, Microsoft Office 365, IBM's SmartCloud and others which reduce several of the core IT, security and compliance issues found in the survey. In order to provide 24 x 7 access to your data and to provide 99.9 per cent guarantees (as per Microsoft's Office 365 offering), good cloud vendors need to have provisioned, well tested and engineered disaster recovery and business continuity contingencies lest their cloud reputation becomes inundated with adverse tweets from the twitterverse.
ISACA's press release also reported on the costs and missed opportunities due to the delays from these security and IT issues. Exactly half of the organisations reported an IT staff shortage and felt these issues were likely to continue. Additionally, 42 per cent had incurred unexpected expenses and 18 per cent believed their reputation had been harmed due to IT issues. Ten per cent even had a competitor beat them to market due to IT complications while 45 per cent in the study said that their enterprises either delayed or even missed an opportunity to reduce costs as a result of an IT-related problem or incident. When asked about the issue most likely to impact their enterprise's security in the next year, top answers were data leakage (17 per cent), cyber attacks (15 per cent), inadvertent employee mistakes (17 per cent), incidents related to "bring your own device" (BYOD) (13 per cent) and cloud computing (11 per cent). Fifteen per cent said all of these issues were top concerns, and 9 per cent believed that none of these are concerns.
By outsourcing many standard applications such as email and local Microsoft Office to Office 365 and offloading as many of a business' IT infrastructure to the cloud, companies are less likely to face many of the complications suffered from the survey.
For more information see ISACA.