The study, conducted by Spiceworks, surveyed 250 IT decision-makers from businesses ranging in size from 11-500 employees.
“As cyberthreats evolve and proliferate, midsize businesses face the particular challenge of protecting themselves from the same sophisticated operators as large enterprises, but with far fewer staff and resources,” said Vernon Irvin, president of CenturyLink’s government, education, medium and small business group. “For today’s digital businesses, it’s essential for security to be seamless with the network, rather than a series of add-on solutions.”
Nearly 80 percent of IT decision makers manage network security in-house, and respondents oversee an average of three wide-area networks (WAN), most commonly fiber/carrier Ethernet, broadband and wireless local-area networks (LAN).
A majority of respondents said they worry about the possibility of unknown security breaches, the impact of those breaches on their businesses, and the time and skills required to fend off existing and potential threats. At the same time, they often have to fit network security into an already tight IT budget, making the cost of those offerings a top challenge, according to the study.
Day-to-day pain points – including the complexity of monitoring logs – lack of time to address security issues and the fear of unintentional human error were also top of mind, the study revealed.
Despite having multiple layers of security protections in place, 82 percent of respondents reported experiencing at least one type of security threat in the past year: Seventy-three percent cited phishing, 48 percent cited ransom/spyware and 36 percent cited other malware.
The respondents identified the primary network connectivity issues they are responsible for addressing as network failovers, reliability, availability, cost and security.
IT decision makers are comfortable using network-based security capabilities, according to the study. They deploy an average of seven network-based security capabilities, led by antivirus, anti-malware, anti-spam and URL filtering/blocking.
IT pros are “extremely interested” in comprehensive network security that can help them with the areas that they perceive as most critical: security (71 percent), availability (67 percent) and performance (66 percent).
Cost is the top concern keeping respondents from deploying the right network security, followed by worrying about the risk of relying on a third-party, lack of control and uncertainty about return on investment (ROI).