Syncsort Finds Security Key To Business Resilience
January 22, 2018 Alex Woodie
Syncsort is keeping up the tradition started 10 years ago by Vision Solutions, which it now owns, by publishing a State of Resilience report. This year’s report focuses the spotlight heavily on one particular aspect of IT operations that’s on everybody’s minds following a turbulent 2017: security.
After surveying 5,632 IT professionals from January through July of last year, Syncsort found that security was the initiative at the top of most IT pros’ minds. Looking out over the next 24 months, security emerged as the top initiative, accounting for 49% of the votes, followed by high availability.
Specifically, IT professionals aim to bolster their organizations’ virus and malware protection, patch management, and intrusion detection and prevention strategies, Syncsort found. When the numbers were sliced by platform, 52 percent of IBM Power users saying they will invest in compliance auditing and reporting.
In terms of the most pressing security challenges, Syncsort found that the adoption of cloud services led the list, with about 43 percent of survey respondents expressing concern. That was followed by the increased sophistication of attacks; ransomware; increased network complexity; insufficient IT security budgets; the increased number of attacks; and growing complexity of regulations as being the top security-related concerns.
An increased focus on security began taking shape more than a year ago, and was bolstered by the events of 2017. Syncsort says enterprises are taking notice. “Malevolent state- and non-state actors have breached corporate and governmental systems alike: Equifax and the IRS experienced hacking attacks, while Target, Home Depot, Anthem, and others incurred stiff compliance fines for data breaches,” the company says in the introduction to the report. “These complex hacking attacks, viruses, and related failures across multiple systems present serious risks to business operations and information integrity.”
Despite these security concerns, IT professionals expressed a great deal of confidence in their security. When Syncsort asked how confident they were, about 50 percent said they were “somewhat confident” while about 39 percent said they were “very confident” in their security. Only about 2 percent said they were “somewhat unconfident” while nobody reported being “very unconfident.”
Looking forward into 2018, security and privacy will be hot-button issues, particularly with the advent of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which goes into effect in May. But existing regulations, such as NIST 800-53, PCI DSS, FISMA, GLBA, SOX, STIG and HIPAA, are also on the radar of IT shops.
Trailing closely behind security in terms of IT priorities was business continuity/high availability, which garnered a 47 percent vote on Syncsort’s survey. According to results shared by Syncsort, tape remains the most widely used data protection technology, with 71 percent of survey respondents saying they use tape. That was followed by logical replication-based high availability software, with a 53 percent share, and hardware-based storage replication technology (i.e., IBM PowerHA) garnering a 51 percent share.
Those HA and disaster recovery (DR) technology figures more or less jibe with what Vision Solutions reported in last year’s study. That’s when it found that more than 80 percent IBM i shops were using tape, more than 60 percent were using logical replication, but less than 40 percent users using hardware replication.
In terms of DR, Syncsort found that companies need to “shore up” their protections. “Nearly half of businesses experienced a failure requiring a high availability/disaster recovery solution to resume operations,” the company states. A little more than one-third lost a few minutes to an hour of data, 28 percent lost a few hours, while 31 percent lost a day or more, it says.
“Only half of businesses are meeting their recovery time objective (RTO) and, despite known risks, 85 percent of respondents had no recovery plan or were less than 100 percent confident in their plan,” the company says.
Syncsort also examined the state of cloud adoption for its survey, and came up with one somewhat amazing fact: 71 percent of IBM Power users (which includes IBM i, AIX, and Power Linux shops) are using the cloud already. Most of these cloud implementations are of the private cloud variety (no AWS or Azure here), and predominantly involved tier-two applications, not the most critical ERP systems.
Disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) in the cloud is a growing field. However, Syncsort found that it’s not yet mainstream. According to the report, only 21 percent of survey respondents have adopted DRaaS, while 4 percent have plans to adopt it in the next month, and another 12 percent are looking to adopt it in a year or two. However, 36 percent have no plans to adopt DRaaS at all, the report found.
“Though early adopters have implemented DRaaS, many others have yet to jump on the bandwagon,” the report states. “And, the low percentages for future use indicate that adoption rates will be gradual.”
Another source of business risk was system migration, according to Syncsort, which found that migrations were a “weak point” in business resilience. The company says 42 percent of survey respondents have experienced a migration failure, while 68 percent report their systems were down between one hour and two days during the last migration.
But before you take this statistic to your boss as proof that staying on the IBM i platform is good business, keep in mind that Syncsort found that 66 percent of Power users had not experienced a migration failure.
As IT become more critical to business operations, organizations need ways to properly assess the risks that data breaches or disasters pose, says Terry Plath, vice president of global services for Syncsort.
“IT leaders are under immense pressure to provide an enterprise infrastructure that can sustain severe threats and secure vital information while enabling data accessibility and business intelligence,” Plath states in a press release. “Business resilience requires the right mix of planning and technology, and this survey did a thorough job of uncovering how businesses are tackling this increasingly complex and multi-faceted challenge.”
Syncsort held a webinar last week to introduce the results, and plans to release the full report shortly. You can contact the company to receive a copy at http://www.www.syncsort.com.