We constantly see organizations large and small struggle with IT and cybersecurity challenges. Regardless of organization size or budget technical issues seem to always arise. These issues run the gamut from internal issues stopping employees from working at their full potential. Or full-blown outages that cause companies to stop operations completely such as the recent FAA system shut down that caused all flights to be suspended in the US for a few hours. While certainly true that many companies underspend when it comes to IT and cybersecurity. It is certainly not the case for all companies that still experience technical challenges. So what is going on?
It's important to understand the complexity of today's IT and cybersecurity landscape. It’s never been more complex. Technology plays a role in every facet of the business and in every department. And due to the nature of the speed of business today. It’s expected that technology will work flawlessly 24/7.
We can look at this complexity from a few perspectives:
Volume of data: The amount of data being generated has increased dramatically in recent years. According to a report by IDC, the total amount of data created, captured, and replicated in the world is expected to reach 175 zettabytes by 2025. This is a significant increase from the approximately 33 zettabytes generated in 2018. Additionally, a study by IBM estimates that 90% of the data in the world today has been created in the last two years alone. This rapid growth in data generation is driven by factors such as the increasing number of internet-connected devices, the growth of social media, and the increasing use of video and image-based content. Just think about your data creations today versus just five or ten years go.
Number of systems: There has been an explosion in the number of systems IT teams need to manage. Each employee has multiple devices such as desktops, laptops, and smartphones. In addition to email, and file access each employee uses 60+ applications. IT teams need to deploy, maintain, and support all these systems. Each of these systems has its own set of complexities. Many of these systems need to integrate with each other which creates even more complexity. In addition, IT roles have expanded to include voice service, conference room AV, security cameras, and physical access control systems.
Constant change: The saying “Repairing the plane while it’s in flight” is common in IT. IT teams must support all these systems and applications while the companies that build them are constantly making changes to them, often with little or no notice. Cloud platforms such as Azure and AWS release changes daily, and SaaS applications such as Salesforce, DocuSign, and thousands of others release updates daily. Factor in changes to a business that require reconfigurations to these systems and applications, such as merger or acquisition. You can see how keeping everything working can get extremely complex.
Security: Taking all the above into account security teams must keep up with all the volume, number of systems and constant change and keep it all running securely. Add on the growing number and sophistication of bad actors ready to take advantage of the smallest misconfiguration or missing security update and you have a very difficult task.
In summary, IT and cybersecurity is challenging because of the complexity of the technologies and systems that IT and cybersecurity professionals are responsible for protecting. The constant need to adapt to new technologies and threats, the sheer amount of data that organizations must now manage and protect, the lack of skilled professionals, the constant change of technology and systems, and the importance of compliance are some of the biggest challenges that IT and cybersecurity teams face. Despite these challenges, organizations must invest in IT and cybersecurity to protect their business from outrages and cyber-attacks and ensure compliance with laws and regulations.