The last 12 months was undoubtedly a year full of high profile incidents for the security industry, from hacks to botched product updates. Shavlik, a pioneer in agentless patching technology, conducted its annual research report to identify the key security challenges that IT professions are facing in their roles. This year, the results identified a strong shift in the risk associated with the security of assets and devices by this community.

Security Concerns

It’s been revealed that over half (58%) of IT professionals are more concerned about system security than they were 12 months ago. And this makes sense after going through the list of repeated security breaches and data losses that 2015 brought with it. Organisations are now very aware of the sophistication and tenacity of modern hackers – either through their own experiences or in seeing the impact on others.

Windows Updates

The research also found that when it came to operating system patching security, 86% of the respondents agreed that Microsoft operating systems were seen to pose the strongest and most consistent challenge to their respective organisations and workforce.

It is interesting to note here that when compared to the 2014 research study, this issues has seen a 33% spike in associated risk. Some have linked this spike with the poor level of Windows 10 updates for business driving a general feeling of lack of control by IT professionals in the industry.

As we know, Microsoft offers automatic patching updates for Office users, however many organisations may not want to have every user and every computer individually downloading the large updates that frequently come with new updates. This perceived lack of control is mainly concerning the potential for system downtime and data vulnerability – which is understandably an issue for IT professionals.

Device Management

Last year, the focus of the enterprise market was on BYOD/CYOD working structures and the promise of a truly flexible/remote workplace. The trend in the previous year’s study showed that 91% of respondents felt that they were unable to cope with patching mobile devices once users take them out of the office. Last year more than two-thirds (64%) of respondents also admitted they did not understand how vulnerable mobile users were to current or existing risks.  Now fast forward to 2016 and you see a significant fall in concern in these areas, as IT professional now have a better grasp of mobile device patching and security management.

This decreased concern for mobile devices indicates how much the industry has moved along as IT professionals have now stopped siloing mobile devices and systems within their organisation. Instead organisations are now moving toward strategies that cover all types of devices.

Truly good security management solutions enable mobile devices to be considered alongside laptops and other corporate systems, which is what we are seeing a many companies readily embracing for 2016.

This coming year is most definitely the year of cybersecurity and increased IT support, considering the variety of existing threats to the whole organisation - irrespective of selected devices. The sophistication of recent hacks has highlighted that companies need to consider organisation wide security approaches to vulnerabilities to better protect their assets. All the while making the process of patching easier to manage.

Take a look at our Infographic for all the key findings from the survey.