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Ascent Index: Cybersecurity

Ascent Index: Cybersecurity

According to a new study this week, 41 percent of global organizations will increase their IT security budgets in 2014. The increased focus on securing corporate data and devices probably isn’t surprising to most industry onlookers, given the amount of media coverage we’ve seen recently around attacks on enterprises, not to mention Edward Snowden and the NSA. Still, the increasing IT security budgets for 2014 shows that market awareness is growing strong.

As another example of increased awareness, look no further than DreamForce ’13, where there was an explosion of security-related vendors. (Ascent portfolio company CloudLock was among them, delivering a session on security and collaboration in the social enterprise.) SaaS security issues in particular are gaining steam as organizations everywhere embrace the cloud, but in general, executives are becoming more educated about IT security risks and solutions, and that’s a good thing.

That’s what makes the latest findings from the Ascent Index interesting. Our Index tracks a wide range of social media mentions – tweets, updates, blog posts, videos, etc. – to monitor various enterprise IT trends and how often they’re being discussed. Tracking the term “cyber security” for the month of November, our Index found stories about Cyber Monday and secure online, as well as standard fare about malware threats rising and columns about proposed cyber legislation in the U.S.

In all, the Index tracked more than 66,000 social mentions – a significant number but interestingly one that’s far below the 100,000 mentions our identified in October-November 2012. To be fair, last year’s Index tracked half of Cybersecurity Awareness Month (October) and cybersecurity itself was a topic of discussion (albeit a relatively minor one) during the 2012 presidential election. So while it’s not an entirely apples-to-apples comparison, it’s a bit curious to find social mentions going down while security budgets (and theoretically, market awareness) go up. One reason may be a lag time in awareness translating into an annual budget allotment.

But while it’s great that the wake-up call is getting louder, there remains a significant gap in the number and growing complexity of IT security threats and an organization’s ability to combat them. Even for those enterprises using security best practices, it’s sometimes not enough to protect them. The current environment demands innovative solutions, and that’s why we’ve backed CloudLock, PerspecSys, and other companies that have developed next-generation cyber security capabilities. As we move forward, leading security companies will continue to drive new innovations and further build market awareness of key industry issues. It will be worth monitoring the level of such market awareness, particularly as we encounter the inevitable future corporate and government security breaches.

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