Employers more confident in addressing cybersecurity challenges

Employers more confident in addressing cybersecurity challenges | Insurance Business Australia

Employers more confident in addressing cybersecurity challenges

Early this year, a majority of global organisations said they expect to be successfully hit by a cyberattack in 2022 as they remain in the digital world and allow employees to work remotely. Now, organisations in Australia have gained more confidence in addressing certain cyber security risks and threats arising from hybrid and remote work, according to the 2022 Thales Access Management Index.

Regarding secure access to applications, data, and systems, 83% of IT professionals surveyed in Australia said they have some degree of confidence in their current user access security systems to enable remote work securely and easily, compared to only 78% in 2021.

The report also found that only 30% of IT professionals reported having “high concerns” about the security risks and threats of remote work in 2022, down from 47% in 2021. Meanwhile, those who were “somewhat concerned” – the most popular response – increased from 36% to 47% this year.

“The past few years have cemented remote work and work-from-anywhere as a permanent part of the security landscape, and they have also introduced new security risks and challenges. However, growing familiarity with remote work has ultimately broadened awareness on an enterprise level of daily business security risks and has strengthened both confidence and ability in security teams and products to handle those risks and threats properly,” said Francois Lasnier, vice president of access management solutions at Thales.

Read more: Cyber challenges: how should brokers advise clients?

Among cyber security tools, multi-factor authentication (MFA) usage remains the most prevalent for remote workers (69%) and privileged users (46%). The tool has also become popular among internal and non-IT staff, with MFA adoption increasing to 38% in 2022, up from 35% in 2021. However, widespread MFA adoption by businesses is still yet to be the norm, with only 56% adopting the tool in their organisations.

“Just as the threat landscape has evolved, the tools and methods to handle that landscape have, too. However, even with innovative tools and boosted confidence levels, security plans and approaches still need to adapt to the ever-changing threat environment,” said Garrett Bekker, principal analyst at 451 Research.

The report also inquired about the direct impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and remote work on deployment plans for new access security technologies. It found an 18-percentage-point increase (39%) in plans to destroy standalone MFA, up from 21% in 2021. The pandemic also impacted plans to deploy cloud-based access management, selected by 45% of the respondents, up from 43% in 2021. These figures reflect the respondents' growing awareness that threats come from all angles, and proper authentication and management of access and privilege are necessary for an adequate security foundation.