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Seven out of 10 Organizations Report Facing new Security Challenges as a Result of the Pandemic, Though Only a Third Consider Cybersecurity a top Priority for 2021

Tanium survey of IT decision makers finds that enterprises are observing uptick in risky behaviors since shift to remote work, including mishandling of confidential data, phishing and Shadow IT

KIRKLAND, WA., March 1, 2021Tanium, the provider of endpoint management and security built for the world’s most demanding IT environments, today released the report “IT Leads the Way: How the Pandemic Empowered IT” to evaluate the primary IT operations and security challenges organizations have faced amid the large-scale shift to remote work in the COVID-19 era, and how businesses plan to adapt moving forward. The report was conducted by PSB Insights and surveyed 500 senior-level IT decision-makers (ITDMs) in the U.S. and U.K. across a variety of industries, including financial services, healthcare, manufacturing and retail.

“Our distributed workforce means the end of the network perimeter as we know it and the rise of the endpoint,” said Chris Hodson, Global CISO of Tanium. “But managing and securing endpoints requires visibility and control. You can’t secure what you can’t see. As the research reveals, it is critical that IT teams continue to invest in solutions that break down data silos and enable automation to ensure manageability, security and insight for their endpoints.”

Key findings from the report include:

  • Enterprises were overly confident in their security posture pre-COVID. Eighty-eight percent of companies reported that before the pandemic they felt some level of confidence in their ability to fully and securely support remote work. Yet, when forced to go remote, only 39 percent of organizations found it easy to actually shift employees. Despite this, only 33 percent considered “improving cybersecurity” as one of their top three IT initiatives for 2021.
  • Uptick in risky behaviors since the pandemic started. Since the pandemic, ITDMs have observed risky behavior from employees ranging from storing sensitive data (41 percent) to clicking on phishing emails (38 percent) to inappropriate admin access (37 percent). It’s not surprising to see risky behaviors around the use of Shadow IT/unsanctioned apps (35 percent), chat or conference apps (31 percent) and third-party file shares (31 percent) as employees try to be productive while working remotely.
  • Overlooking software updates could present a software supply chain risk. The recent SolarWinds attack illustrates the systemic vulnerabilities in the ever-growing software supply chain. Since the pandemic began, 30 percent of respondents have observed their end users “not updating software.” It’s imperative that organizations prioritize asset inventory and software updates to protect themselves from critical vulnerabilities and potential attacks.
  • Cloud investments accelerate. Underlining the criticality of cloud in maintaining business continuity after remote work was introduced, 66 percent of companies accelerated their planned investments in cloud infrastructure. However, the cloud isn’t being adopted at the same rate in different regions. Forty percent of U.S. IT decision-makers believe their company is well ahead of other companies in adopting new technologies such as cloud services, compared to only 24 percent of U.K. IT decision-makers who feel the same way.
  • The pandemic shifted investment priorities. After cloud infrastructure, organizations also prioritized investments in data and information security (63 percent), threat detection (60 percent), security/compliance software and services (59 percent), and device management (50 percent). The vast majority of ITDMs cite the pandemic as a key reason for the changes in budgeting priorities.
  • IT is facing new security and operational challenges with increased complexity. Seventy-three percent of respondents say they face new IT security challenges, and 52 percent noted these challenges have become more complex since the pandemic started. Operations teams are also under pressure with 69 percent of respondents saying they face new IT operations challenges and 56 percent noting these challenges have become more complex.
  • Zero Trust, authentication and device management rise as the perimeter falls. Compared to their plans before the pandemic, 38 percent of businesses accelerated investments in technology that supports a Zero Trust architecture. Additionally, 55 percent accelerated identity and access management investments, and 51 percent accelerated investment in secure adaptive access. This comes at a time when visibility and management across newly distributed workforces is crucial. Accelerated investments in device management (50 percent), software management (49 percent) and compliance management software/services (48 percent) also reveal a need for a unifying platform to identify, inventory and manage endpoints.

The full report can be found here.

Tanium partnered with PSB Insights to conduct an online survey among 500 IT decision makers in the U.S. and U.K. (MoE ±4.33%) between November 19 and 24, 2020. These decision makers represented a variety of industries, including financial services, healthcare, manufacturing and retail.

About Tanium
Tanium offers endpoint management and security that is built for the world’s most demanding IT environments. Many of the world’s largest and most sophisticated organizations, including nearly half of the Fortune 100, top retailers and financial institutions, and multiple branches of the US Armed Forces rely on Tanium to make confident decisions, operate efficiently and effectively, and remain resilient against disruption. Tanium has been named to the Forbes Cloud 100 list of “Top 100 Private Companies in Cloud Computing” for five consecutive years and ranks 4th on FORTUNE’s list of the “Best Workplaces in Technology 2020.” Visit us at and follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Ashley Stewart
[email protected]