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Threats raise the bar for IT security

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IT security can no longer be an afterthought as the digital economy accelerates and consumers and organisations become increasingly interconnected.
“Security is now the foundation on which solutions must be built,” says Clinton Jacobs, senior analyst at BMI-TechKnowledge.
Finance, Telecoms, and Retail are the dominant consumers of IT security services, driven by new local legislation such as POPI as well as other international data protection legislation, according to the latest SA IT Security Services Market publication by BMI-TechKnowledge.
Recent personal data legislation is having a major impact globally on how companies secure their data and protect their digital assets.
Also driving security uptake is governance and internal audit, which can range from just getting the boxes ticked to a real tool to ensure an organisation’s information assets are as secure as possible.
Real IT security incidents such as the recent ransomware attacks occasion the largest reactionary response but this is unfortunately often only after significant damage has been done. The continuous challenge is that an attacker only has to find one loophole. Organisations have to defend everything.
As with many IT disciplines, there is a dramatic skills shortage in IT security. This skills shortage is an issue at all levels of expertise but is particularly acute in the highly skilled arena. A variety of skills are needed, ranging from the specific to the holistic. Some security providers are creating their own academies to shore up their skills base and in doing so are helping the IT security industry across the board.
IT security is important but expensive; customers therefore often simply outsource this function, even though this constitutes an incomplete solution, since each company demands a high level of individual proactivity and innovation, requiring a hybrid in-house and outsourced approach.
The IT security services market, estimated at R1,9-billion last year, is expected to grow at a CAGR of 14,8% to R3,75-billion in 2021, with IT security automation and analytics being two key trends as artificial intelligence starts to play a significant role in IT security.