IT Trends research – top 10 – Cyber and data security (1)

In this digitizing world, many technologies are rapidly changing the way organizations carry out their work. In this web of technologies, it is important for IT professionals to know what the most emerging trends are for the coming year, so that the right added value can be derived from this for their organization. Supply Value has been conducting the IT Trends Survey since 2019. The purpose of this research is to support Information management and technology professionals in setting key priorities and proper focus. We have arrived at the top 3! In this insight, we share and consider the trend that has finished in first place: Cyber and data security.

Trend 1 – Cyber and data security

Digital threats, cyber intrusions and data leaks are becoming increasingly common nationally and internationally. Statistics from Statistics Netherlands show that more than 1 million individual users are affected by digital crime in the Netherlands alone, but companies and organizations are also increasingly being targeted. For example, Twitter had to reset the passwords of millions of users in connection with a data breach, a Dutch educational institution paid tons of ransom to get its IT systems affected by ransomware up and running again and Garmin recently experienced a cyber attack that destroyed their entire online presence. presence disappeared. Many processes and systems have been digitized: our dependence is increasing, while resilience is lagging behind. This combination makes (Dutch) organizations vulnerable to digital attacks, requiring significant investments from both the government and the business community to reduce this vulnerability. This year's IT Trends Survey also shows a growing role for cyber and data security. 89% of IT professionals gives high to very high priority to this trend and more than 86% of respondents rank cyber and data security among the top three trends, making cyber and data security the most important IT trend.

What is Cyber and Data Security?

Cyber and data security are originally two different disciplines, but they are an extension of each other and can reinforce each other. Cybersecurity encompasses the broader spectrum of protecting data and systems against theft, disruption or misuse of hardware, software or data. Data security concerns the protection of this data against intentional or unintended modification, deletion or disclosure of data by unauthorized persons.

Due to the increasing digitization of processes and systems, cybersecurity is playing an increasingly important role in protecting organizations against attacks. This protection consists of a 'hard' and a 'soft' side. In a 'hard' attack, the attacker uses a design or configuration flaw (such as a backdoor in a system or algorithm) to evade security. The hard protection consists, for example, of a firewall that shields access, but also 'security by design' in which the security of software already plays a central role from the very design stage. A 'soft' attack focuses less on the technology and more on the user. This often involves social engineering, where the attacker impersonates someone else – such as a bank or a CEO – to obtain sensitive data from the victim or even directly trick them into a financial transaction. On the softer side of protection, the focus is on training and awareness of (end) users, among other things. Weak passwords and failure to recognize misleading URLs, senders and email attachments in a timely manner are well-known human errors in training and campaigns.

Data security is about protecting data against intentional or unintentional viewing, modification, destruction or leakage of data without authorization. To prevent this, data security provides technical measures aimed at physical security, administrative controls and other means of protection that limit access. Encryption technology, backups, data masking and data destruction are often used here, but also think of device management to prevent data leaks. In addition to these technical measures, data security also includes organizational measures, partly because of the human factor in the risks. Even though data is well protected, carelessness in human handling of technology can lead to major data leaks. By not properly erasing hard drives and backups or by not handling passwords carefully, data can still – literally – end up on the street. These organizational measures can consist of drawing up a security policy and taking protocols and measures for business continuity in the event of an incident, but also stimulating awareness and training with the aim of creating a culture in which employees handle data appropriately.

Cyber and data security has many applications. Three relevant applications emerged from the IT Trends survey, namely security monitoring, emergency response and shared security.

Preventive security options are important. While these options are getting smarter, the chances of them being circumvented are growing. Actively monitoring and monitoring information systems, also known as security monitoring, is therefore becoming increasingly important. In addition to a signaling function, security monitoring also has an alarming and advisory function by suggesting appropriate measures for a certain detected security problem. Of the respondents who prioritize cyber and data security, no fewer than 93% consider security monitoring to be a relevant development. It protects organizations against the direct damage of a data breach, for example by protecting business operations and continuity, but also against indirect damage in the form of reputational damage.

In the event of a cyber attack, it is important to react quickly, calmly and in a coordinated manner. emergency response often consists of a team that is able to quickly investigate security breaches, data breaches and other serious incidents and take measures to ensure that damage is limited. The outbreak of the Morris worm in 1988 prompted the creation of emergency response teams, as the worm managed to spread to much of the then Internet, which was difficult to recover. Due to the social importance, many countries also coordinate emergency response at the national level. In addition, emergency response is seen as relevant by 69% of respondents who prioritize cyber and data security. Minimizing the direct and indirect damage to vulnerable organizational processes is an important motivation.

With the rise of cloud technology, shared security received more attention as an application. Shared security means that the cloud supplier and customer share the responsibility for security, with the supplier being responsible for the cloud and the customer for its own data and applications in the cloud. By using the security provided by the supplier, there is more effectiveness in the deployment of security resources and less in-depth knowledge and commitment is expected from the user. That does not mean that the cloud buyer does not have to pay attention to cloud security. Research by Extrahop shows that it is expected that by 2022 at least 95% of the security incidents with the cloud will be caused on the side of the customer[1]. That is why it is all the more important to make good agreements between cloud supplier and customer. Shared security is therefore a relevant application for 45% of respondents who prioritize cyber and data security.

Trend development in Cyber and data security

From the IT Trends Survey 2019 showed that there is a need for better protection of systems and data. The growing importance of data security is also strongly reflected in the survey this year. For example, we see a higher priority given to cyber and data security in 2020 (growth from 71% to 89% of professionals who give much to very much priority to this trend). Even more striking is that the importance of this trend ended up just outside the podium last year (place 4), but is seen as the most important trend this year. For example, more than 85% of respondents voted cyber and data security among the top 3 most important IT trends, with half of these 85% ranking it in #1. Many IT professionals indicate that the growing importance and use of data is accompanied by vulnerability. To mitigate this vulnerability, organizations are incorporating data security into their business strategy and setting up a Security Operations Center (SOC). In addition, there is a growing need to secure and oversee the entire chain. For example, the risks of data leaks at (IT) suppliers and other chain partners are tested and tightened up where possible.


Other studies also show that the cyber and data security trend is developing further[1][2]. Consumers' 54% say they are just as concerned about the commercial use of their personal data and online identity for personalized purposes as they are about security threats and hackers. This should be an important starting point for customer-oriented organizations.

Our research shows that the growing importance and use of data is associated with vulnerability. That is why a robust and solid system of information security is an important basis on which to develop the other trends. This requires a combination of hard and soft measures, ranging from firewalls to awareness for employees. The research also shows that small organizations and organizations with a relatively low IT budget attach less importance to Cyber and data security, while these organizations must also be aware of the risks and take the necessary measures. A first step in this regard can be a test of the current situation in order to gain insight into the risks and vulnerabilities of cyber and data security, for example using the Government Information Security Baseline.



Has this insight made you enthusiastic about our IT Trends Survey? Put the notifications of our LinkedIn page then on. Later this week we will publish the complete IT Trends Survey, so you can find all emerging trends in one report.

Would you like to have an in-depth conversation with one of our consultants based on this insight? Please contact Jurriaan Vogel.