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Weak IT and SecOps collaboration in ANZ opens doors to cyber attacks

The weak collaboration between IT and security teams in Australia and New Zealand is exposing their organisations to data loss, business disruption and other potential consequences of cyber attacks

The weak collaboration between IT and security teams in Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) is exposing their businesses to cyber threats that could result in business disruption, data loss and other consequences.

This was despite most IT and security decision makers believing they should share the responsibility for their organisations’ data security strategy.

The findings, revealed by Cohesity in a study conducted by Censuswide, underscored the disconnect between organisational best practices and what is happening on the ground.

According to the study, which polled more than 500 IT decision makers and security operations (SecOps) teams in ANZ, over a third of SecOps respondents believe the collaboration is not strong with IT, with 11% of those respondents going so far as to call it “weak”.

Among IT decision makers, almost a sixth of respondents believe the collaboration is not strong. In total, over one in four respondents believe the collaboration between the two groups is not strong.

Like their counterparts elsewhere, ANZ businesses are experiencing more cyber attacks, with nearly half of respondents reporting that their organisations had fallen prey to ransomware in the past six months.

Amid the looming threat landscape, the level of collaboration between IT and SecOps has remained stagnant or has declined. According to the study, almost two in five (39%) of respondents globally said collaboration between the two groups remains the same even with increased cyber attacks.

Read more about cyber security in Australia

In fact, one in six respondents said collaboration has decreased. While only 6% of IT decision makers said collaboration has decreased, over a quarter of SecOps respondents believe that is the case, highlighting the substantial disparity in the views of the two groups.

The ongoing tech talent crunch is making matters worse. When asked if the talent shortage is impacting collaboration between IT and security teams, almost three in four (76% of IT decision makers and 72% of SecOps) said it is having an impact.

And because of the weak collaboration between IT and SecOps, many respondents believe their organisation is more exposed to cyber attacks.

Among IT and SecOps respondents who believe collaboration is weak between the two groups, more than half (52%) believe their organisation is either more exposed (35%), or much more exposed (16%) to cyber threats.

Business disruption

The consequences of that exposure could be devastating. When asked what their worst fear about a lack of collaboration between security and IT would be if an attack takes place, 44% of respondents fear business disruption, 43% are concerned about a loss of data and 39% are worried customers will take their business elsewhere.

“This research pinpoints the frequent lack of collaboration between IT and security teams that we’re seeing across many organisations today,” said Brian Spanswick, chief information security officer at Cohesity.

“For too long, many security teams focused primarily on preventing cyber attacks, while IT teams have focused on data protection, including backup and recovery. A complete data security strategy must bring these two worlds together – but in many cases, they remain separate, and this lack of collaboration creates significant business risks and can put companies at the mercy of bad actors.”

To further drive this point home, when respondents were asked how their company prioritised data backup and protection as part of their organisation’s security posture or response to a cyber attack, 53% of IT decision makers said it was a top priority and a critical capability, while only 39% of SecOps respondents said the same.

“If SecOps teams are not thinking about backup and recovery, and lack next-generation data management capabilities as part of an overall security strategy, that’s a problem,” said Spanswick.

“IT and SecOps teams need to collaborate before an attack takes place – looking holistically across the [US National Institute of Standards and Technology] NIST Cyber Security Framework, which includes five core capabilities: identify, protect, detect, respond and recover.

“If they wait to collaborate until their data is hijacked, that’s too late, and the results could be catastrophic for businesses.”

Read more on Data protection, backup and archiving

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