Nearly 4 in 5 organisations are more concerned about compliance than they were five years ago, with the burden falling on the IT department in more than half (57%) of businesses, according to a new ‘IT Compliance Survey’ conducted by leading cybersecurity software provider Hornetsecurity. The company released its latest research findings at Infosecurity Europe 2023, currently in progress in London, where it is exhibiting at booth N40.

Worryingly, 69% of respondents said that compliance has a ‘moderate’ to ‘extreme’ impact on their IT department’s operations, and 1 in 8 companies (13%) said they couldn’t confirm that they were compliant with required controls. 

The findings of more than 200 respondents, from CIOs to system administrators, revealed that despite this widespread concern, more than a third (37.5%) of organisations don’t have a dedicated compliance officer, and 1 in 8 have been penalised for non-compliance with regulations.    

Just one-fifth of respondents said they use an automated system for compliance, with nearly 40% relying on time consuming manual processes. Even when using compliance features, like those present in Microsoft 365, there are problems; over half (52%) cited ‘Lack of internal knowledge’ and 44% said ‘complexity’ causes issues, both of which can jeopardise effective data protection and compliance with laws and regulations. More than 80% of respondents said their organisation would gain ‘moderate’ to ‘extreme’ benefit from a new, easier compliance management tool. 

Commenting on the research, Hornetsecurity CEO, Daniel Hofmann, said: “This new survey should be a wake-up call for businesses. The fact that more than half of companies are hindering the day-to-day work of IT departments through lack of compliance staff and policies is a huge concern. It confirms our suspicion that there’s a widespread need for easy-to-use, effective compliance management solutions to enable companies to streamline data management and reduce the risk of data loss.”

Cloud problems

Unfortunately, the survey findings also revealed that cloud storage was a major issue when it comes to compliance. 

  • 1 in 3 respondents (33.3%) said a ‘lack of effective reporting and auditing tools’ is a reason the cloud cannot be used to store data in their organisation.

  • 2 in 10 respondents (21.6%) claimed compliance regulations prevent their organisations from storing data in the cloud.

  • ‘Lack of trust’ (42.2%) and ‘hard requirement data on-premises’ (37.8%) were the most commonly cited reasons for not storing data in the cloud. 

To address the mounting challenges faced by IT teams, Hornetsecurity has created a way for any-sized companies to alleviate compliance burdens with its next-gen all-in-one email security, backup, compliance and security awareness solution for Microsoft 365, 365 Total Protection. Additional value is added by coupling this with Hornetsecurity’s newly launched 365 Permission Manager, which delivers effortless permissions management, enabling administrators to control Microsoft 365 permissions, enforce compliance policies, and monitor violations in SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business.

Hofmann added: “Hornetsecurity’s offerings for M365 helps to deliver easy-to-use and effective security, backup, compliance and governance solutions for organisations. For example, the ease of file-storage and file-sharing in SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business can quickly create a compliance headache for administrators. Our solutions assist business leaders to work in line with regulations, and importantly, it frees up time and responsibility for IT teams to focus on their essential tasks.”

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