New Study: 83 Percent Say Enterprise Security and IT Teams Have ‘Negative Relationship’

A new survey from Forrester Consulting reveals a sobering reality:

Eighty-three percent of respondents say enterprise security and IT teams have a negative relationship. 

The report, commissioned by VMware, finds that IT and security tensions exist across all industries and regions. The report also reveals that companies are working to reconcile the divide. In fact, companies rank “collaboration between IT and security” as a top goal for the next year.

Enterprise Security and IT Relationship in the Spotlight

The timing of this research is interesting for two key reasons.

First, it’s a notable update to February’s VMware Carbon Black Threat Report. Since that time, the respondent sample size nearly doubled. And this provides a more targeted look at some key questions.

Second, the survey responses came in just before COVID-19 gained a global foothold. Before that time, most respondents operated under “normal” conditions. Now, many global workforces are exclusively remote. And this new model presents a new, unique set of IT and security challenges.

Nearly 50 percent of both IT and security respondents reported being understaffed.

Download the complete 2020 Cybersecurity Outlook Report for better clarity in the modern attacker versus defender battle.

Let’s be clear: tension between Security and IT teams is an historical issue. The results and recommendations from the report are relevant on any timeline, COVID-19 aside. But because of the global pandemic, we wanted to balance the survey results with what was happening in real-time.

Given how quickly COVID-19 permeated our work (and personal) lives, we believed two things were most likely to happen:

  1. Existing tensions between security and IT teams would be exacerbated; or
  2. Teams would put aside day-to-day differences to empower and secure remote workforces.

To advance the discussion and shed further light on the impact of COVID-19 on enterprise security and IT teams’ relationship, we spoke to both enterprise cybersecurity leaders and practitioners.

What Steps Did You Take to Work More Harmoniously with IT during COVID-19?

Note: For instances where attribution permission wasn’t granted, we simply refer to the person’s title at their organization.

Several of the responses not included in the list above pointed to increased collaboration across the teams, something the Forrester survey respondents said they were keen on achieving.

A Silver Lining

It appears that amid COVID-19, many organizations working to improve the enterprise security and IT relationship. Clearly, there’s still work to do However, it’s encouraging to find a silver lining at a time when teams could have easily burrowed more deeply into silos. That they decided to come together and rally—as one team—speaks volumes.

Forrester Research: How a Unified IT and Security Strategy Lays a Foundation for Success