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A/NZ businesses increase spend on cybersecurity in wake of COVID-19

By Shannon Williams, 16 Mar 2021

Australia and New Zealand businesses increased their cybersecurity spending an additional 10-20% on last year's originally budgeted IT spending plans, according to IDC.

Despite organisations cutting spending in many areas during 2020 due to the impact of COVID-19, security remains a consistent area of increased investment in both countries. 

These findings come according to IDC's recently released Australia and New Zealand security report, which examines the pandemic's impact on the security needs and investments of A/NZ businesses. 

Robust cybersecurity investments are vital to business recovery from the effects of COVID-19 because security is what fully enables the 'next normal' in the Future of Work. 

"The shift to new models of working drives a crucial need to invest in security measures to enable these remote and hybrid working environments. IDC research found that 98% of A/NZ organisations rated workplace security as an important capability in enabling business/operational continuity through the pandemic," says Emily Lynch, associate market analyst for A/NZ IT Services.

"Many of these businesses intend to invest further in their cybersecurity over the next 1-2 years, with remote access needs and accelerating secure innovation the main drivers of this growth."

The report, Australia and New Zealand Security: The Implications of the COVID-19 Pandemic for 2021 and Beyond, also demonstrates the need for greater investment in security skills across A/NZ.

To position themselves for business recovery and success, A/NZ organisations place a major priority on security hiring. A/NZ businesses selected cybersecurity skills as the most important IT skill to rebuild in the first wave of economic recovery from the pandemic. COVID-19 and the sudden shift to working remotely has exposed the need for greater investment in remote access, data security, and endpoint management tools and solutions; investment in skills and people is key to ensure organisations can implement these for optimal security outcomes.

Looking to 2021 and beyond, top security priorities in A/NZ revolve around data and information security in an increasingly complex environment. A/NZ organisations have been forced to rethink how to keep sensitive customer and company data secure – data that needs to be accessed anytime, anywhere, including from less secure home networks. Securing new devices and residential networks is a major security challenge for A/NZ organisations.

"The increased complexity of IT environments because of the pandemic is a turning point for organisations’ data security strategies," says Lynch.

"Many organisations lack a long-term security investment road map that is recalibrated after the upheaval of 2020. Resolving poorly configured solutions and rushed deployments will be a near-term focus point as businesses look to re-set strategy for the coming year," she says.

"The recent forays back into snap lockdowns in Auckland, Victoria, Queensland, and Perth once again reinforce that this 'new normal' and new environments to secure are here to stay. 

"Investment in the right security skills and strategy will be the cornerstone for business recovery and resilience."

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