Today, we’re announcing the results of a survey recently commissioned on the state of enterprise security. Conducted by Ultimate Windows Security, the report provides visibility into the uses, concerns and challenges that IT departments face in respect to endpoint security, patching, cloud applications and mobile management.

We polled nearly 700 IT professionals working at enterprise (1,000+ employees), midsize (101 to 999) and small (1 to 100) businesses around the world. Below are a few of our high-level findings about the state of security.

Organizations are concerned about endpoints and taking steps to manage and secure them centrally, but lack the integrated tools to accomplish this goal effectively. 

  • When asked to rank their top security concerns, three of the top four answers from IT professionals revolved around endpoints.
  • When asked which systems management products were being used (with the option to choose more than one product), “none” was the third most popular answer. For small businesses, the number of organizations foregoing endpoint security is an alarming 36 percent.
  • Even for companies with one or more systems management products in place, the priority of endpoint security isn’t necessarily being met.

There is an immediate need for integrated system management solutions that include automation, workflow, and third-party patching to address endpoint security issues and improve productivity.

  • Vulnerability protection plays a key role in overall threat protection. Respondents underscored the importance of this by citing the need to stop endpoint-based intrusions as the fourth highest security priority.
  • Fifty-seven percent of respondents cited a need for integrated third-party patching into their systems management product because they’re currently using a separate solution, per-application automatic updates or no patching at all.
  • As much as it should be a commodity activity, patching is still an issue for most IT organizations. Despite robust systems management platforms, the ability to automatically patch all aspects of endpoints (including third-party applications) in an integrated manner still escapes many organizations, leaving them to patch by using scripts, or worse yet, manually.

Organizations are cautiously but optimistically taking advantage of the cloud.

  • When asked to breakdown how much of their data center is on-premises versus the cloud, an average of 60 percent of surveyed organizations reported that their IT environments remain on-premises. To clarify, this doesn’t mean that 60 percent of organizations maintain their IT environments solely on-premises; that was true for only 2.6 percent of respondents.
  • With data breaches of cloud-based applications frequently hitting headlines, organizations are moving with sizable caution. After security (76 percent), respondents cited compliance (43 percent) and lack of expertise (37 percent) as top cloud concerns.
  • Sixty-one percent of respondents said that they were currently using or testing within the public cloud for production.

From a mobile security perspective, organizations must continue to embrace EMM and implement additional features, such as secure containers and content access, to secure data.

  • The massive growth in mobile technologies, mostly driven by user demand, has placed IT in the precarious position of working to keep the mobile organization running as effectively and securely as the traditional one. It’s a constant game of catch-up as new mobile devices and cloud-based applications come out on a sometimes daily basis.
  • Surprisingly, 37 percent of respondents said that they are not using any kind of EMM solution.
  • When asked whether key EMM features were being used, respondents indicated that they were mostly managing devices and delivering preconfigured applications. The EMM feature of most interest to those not using it was the ability to use secure containers.

It’s clear that addressing issues around endpoint security, systems management, patching, use of cloud applications, and mobile management is no simple challenge. So, what does IT need to properly manage, secure, and enable users to address all of these issues?

IT professionals need solutions that continually centralize and secure these environments while providing automation and boosting IT productivity. When asked which approach respondents would prefer to address the issues outlined in this report, “best of breed” was the top response (29 percent), and “fully integrated” and “single pane of glass” tied for second (26 percent).

If you’re interested in reading the full survey results, download a copy here. And, if you’re at RSA this week, make sure you stop by and say hi! We are in booth N3040.