81 percent of security pros say phishing is the top threat

A new study finds that that most organizations anticipate phishing (81 percent), malware and ransomware (76 percent), and accidental data loss (63 percent) will be the top security risks over the next six months, followed by social engineering (55 percent) and third-party risks (52 percent).

The report from Fortra looks at the challenges security professionals have faced over the past year, as well as what they plan to focus on next as they continue to embrace digital transformation, new hybrid infrastructures and a challenging security landscape.

In the face of these threats top five cybersecurity initiatives for this year are cited as: limiting outsider threats such as phishing and malware (74 percent), finding and closing security gaps (73 percent), improving security culture (66 percent), securing the cloud (63 percent), and compliance (62 percent).

"While these may seem like disparate concerns, they can all be traced back to the headlong rush to the cloud," says Antonio Sanchez, principal cybersecurity evangelist at Fortra. "The impacts of this rapid migration -- weak policies, poor container security, misconfigurations, and gaping security holes -- came home to roost in 2023 and the consequences will still be playing out this year."

The report also looks at what's holding back the execution of security strategies, with budget limitations (54 percent), the constantly changing nature of threats (45 percent), and lack of security skills (45 percent) topping the list. In addition, the survey revealed that while everyone is seeking to implement principles of zero trust, a quarter said they aren’t planning to due to insufficient resources.

In addition 67 percent say they are focusing on improving the skills of their staff, while organizations are also turning to managed security services to offload some of the weight. The most popular areas to outsource being email security and anti-phishing (58 percent), vulnerability management (52 percent), data protection (51 percent), and compliance (40 percent).

Josh Davies, principal technical manager at Fortra says, "Burnout is one trend that's causing skilled people to leave organizations or transition into roles with more targeted responsibilities. This puts additional stress on the remaining staff as they must still deliver the required outcomes with fewer headcount. We are seeing increased adoption in managed security services to relieve a portion of their operational burden."

The full report is available from the Fortra site.

Image credit: bloomua/depositphotos.com

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