In the business world, data loss caused by a successful cyber-attack always sit in ‘very bad’ territory. Certainly, events of this kind have and will continue to have devastating consequences. Identifying and reacting to threats quickly could mean the difference between a successful or failed business. Why, then, do a mere 6% of organisations not have the specialist resource required to do that?

This statistic was just one of many equally concerning findings in a survey commissioned by IDE group from independent research firm, Vanson Bourne. Having surveyed IT managers at 100 mid-sized UK companies and reviewed the results as whole, we were forced to ask: where are the security professionals?

For example, fewer than 20% of respondents have enough resource to scan all IT logs that might contain security information. When potential threats are identified, half of organisations (53%) surveyed do not have the skills required to provide useable security intelligence to their business. Only 13% have someone able to effectively deal with any intelligence that is provided. Without intelligence, organisations effectively don’t even know they’re being attacked but if they don’t have someone to do something with that intelligence, that’s almost irrelevant.

To address this lack of specialist resource, there are only three options businesses can select to go forward with.

One, do nothing. Businesses can rely on existing, trusted measures and hope that nothing slips through the net. This avoids deploying general IT staff to execute specialist, yet routine security checks. It almost goes without saying, that a lack of focus is likely to lead to inconsistent delivery and the door being left open to who-knows-what threats for extended periods of time.

Two, recruit the specialist staff needed to form what’s known as a Security Operations Centre (SOC), i.e. a team that has the tools and skills needed to identify threats and alert the business effectively. Be advised though, this isn’t cheap. To be effective, it requires 24-hour cover by people who can effectively analyse data, identify complex threats and manage the security challenge.

Three, outsourcing this function. In our view, only a dedicated, specialist team – a SOC – can quickly identify and effectively manage all of the threats an organisation faces. Having a trusted third party provide this to you as a service can be a very cost-effective way to gain the peace of mind provided by dedicated expertise on a 24/7 basis.

Clearly, there is a gap in security measures when protection should be high on the list of business importance. Whatever way it’s provided, only a centralised, specialist resource can identify threats effectively and apply an appropriate response. By combining this resource with well-maintained security technologies, an organisation is best equipped to deal with whatever threat comes its way.

To find out more about our research, download our whitepaper here.