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Ageing devices biggest threat to cybersecurity as work from home becomes norm

The IT companies are contemplating over extending this arrangement even after COVID-19 infections reduce. But, most companies agree to cybersecurity threat being a sword hanging over their heads

Rukmini Rao | June 10, 2020 | Updated 18:55 IST
Ageing devices biggest threat to cybersecurity as work from home becomes norm
The assets of 47.9 per cent organisations are ageing or turning obsolete

KEY HIGHLIGHTS:

  • In 2019, network infra assets of 47.9% businesses aged or turned obsolete
  • Ageing and obsolete devices in technology sector at 59.6%
  • Redirection of spend towards cloud services is resulting in decreased investment

Various sectors across the globe are slowing and in a staggered fashion opening up after nearly five months of lockdown, perhaps with the only exception of information technology sector, which adapted to a different working model to tide over the crisis. The IT companies are contemplating over extending this arrangement even after COVID-19 infections reduce. But, most companies agree to cybersecurity threat being a sword hanging over their heads. However, a recent report by NTT Ltd shows the root cause of cybersecurity threat having substantially increased is perhaps the obsolete or ageing devices.

"The assets of 47.9 per cent  organisations were ageing or turning obsolete as a weighted average, representing a significant surge from 2017, when this figure was just 13.1 per cent. Both connectivity and security are being compromised by enterprises leaving obsolete devices on the network," the report  said. While the industry average in the use of obsolete and ageing devices is 47.9 per cent, public sector leads the way with 61.7 per cent, and surprisingly close second is the technology sector with 59.6 per cent of devices either ageing or turning obsolete. On an average, an obsolete device has twice as many vulnerabilities per device (42.2 per cent) compared to ageing (26.8 per cent) and current devices (19.4 per cent). Interestingly, the report says that around 2015-16,  businesses started investing and deploying new technology and spending on new devices peaked in 2017 when there were 86.9 per cent of organisations with current (latest) devices. Even as adoption of new wireless infrastructure is on the rise, with an average increase of over 13 per cent year-on-year, ageing and obsolete devices create security vulnerabilities and put businesses at risk of cyber attacks with people logging in from co-working spaces and remote work locations.

One of the biggest reasons behind the lower investment in  on-premises infrastructure, according to report, is the growth in cloud spend outpacing that in overall IT spend. This is what is leading to lower investments. Cloud adoption and spend were predicted to grow at a faster rate and in the region of 21-25 per cent CAGR until 2023. "The increase in on-premises, ageing and obsolete devices is partially due to a redirection of spend towards Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and other cloud services, which results in a decrease in investment in on-premises infrastructure. However, we anticipate that there will be a significant increase in people working from home, even after pandemic reduction measures are lifted," the report said.

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