Businesses still at risk from outdated operating systems

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A new report reveals that 32 percent of businesses still have Windows XP installed on at least one device on their network and 79 percent of businesses are running Windows 7, which will reach its end of service in January 2020, on one or more devices.

The study from IT industry marketplace Spiceworks also shows many businesses are turning to next-generation security solutions like AI-powered threat intelligence and security-as-a-service to face security threats and vulnerabilities including outdated operating systems, limited use of encryption, and a lack of in-house security expertise.

The report reveals that 53 percent of businesses don't have a cybersecurity expert on their staff, and 17 percent have no access to cybersecurity expertise, either internally or externally through third-party security consultants. 17 percent of businesses report they don't employ any type of encryption, and 27 percent believe they're unprepared to respond to internal data leaks.

"There are massive opportunities for security vendors to help organizations better protect their devices, data, and networks as they turn to intelligent security technologies to guard against new threats and security solutions offered 'as a service' to compensate for a cybersecurity skills gap," says Peter Tsai, senior technology analyst at Spiceworks. "Looking forward, security vendors that can offer solutions and services with the right mix of value for money, protection against emerging threats, and innovative capabilities stand will be well positioned well to capitalize on this trend."

When it comes to updating their security 18 percent of businesses have adopted AI-powered threat intelligence platforms, and an additional 30 percent are considering adopting them in the next two years. Additionally, 12 percent now use AI-powered network security appliances and an additional 32 percent are considering adopting them in the next two years.

As-a-service solutions in use include endpoint security and threat protection with business adoption at 28 percent and 19 percent, respectively. Within the next two years, adoption of intrusion detection and prevention as-a-service is expected to see the most growth. 12 percent of businesses use it today and an additional 23 percent say they are considering using it by 2021.

Among endpoint security solution providers, the research shows Malwarebytes (35 percent) and Sophos (24 percent) have the highest adoption rates across all company sizes. Symantec, Webroot, Trend Micro, Bitdefender, and ESET are also among the top endpoint security providers. When IT buyer satisfaction is evaluated, the results show Sophos earns high marks for zero-day threat protection, while Webroot takes the top spot for great value for money and minimal performance impact along with ESET.

The full report is available from the Spiceworks site.

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