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Rise in cyberattacks has boosted security skills among IT teams

(Image credit: Shutterstock / Gorodenkoff)

For most IT security teams, last year became a trial by fire. A new report from cybersecurity firm Sophos suggests the constant barrage of cyberattacks last year helped IT teams sharpen their security skills and increase their expertise in the field.

Based on a poll of 5,400 IT decision makers worldwide, the report claims most IT teams faced a rise in cyberattacks (82 percent) and a heavier workload (84 percent. However, more than half (52 percent) reported an increase in morale as staff were forced to club together in the face of new challenges.

The heavier workload came about as the result of businesses moving most of their operations online in a bid to stay operational during lockdown. Cybercriminals attempted to take advantage of the rush, with security taking a temporary back seat to business continuity.

However, IT teams saw the pandemic as a learning opportunity. Sophos said most new knowledge did not come from formal sources, such as classes, courses, or tutorials, but rather through practice and everyday challenges.

These experiences have fueled the ambitions of both IT teams and their organizations. While businesses will look to strengthen their IT teams in the coming months, staff members want to add advanced AI-enabled tools to their arsenal.

According to the report, 68 percent of IT teams anticipate an increase in the number of in-house IT security staff in the next two years, while 56 percent expect the number of outsourced IT security staff to grow.

Almost all respondents (92 percent) expect AI to help deal with the growing number and/or complexity of threats.