As we swerve onto the runway in 2018, IT leaders are finding themselves under increased pressure to ensure security, high availability and disaster recovery for the applications and systems under their care. The results of several surveys underscore the concerns of nearly 6,000 IT professionals around the globe.\nThese surveys, conducted in 2017 by Vision Solutions, now part of Syncsort, collected responses from 5,632 professionals to determine their key business continuity concerns and their strategies for addressing high-profile hacking attacks, data breaches, disruptive natural disasters, and escalating storage and data accessibility needs. The results highlight their areas of greatest concern and the key initiatives they are putting into place for moving forward.\nKeep IT going\nThe top IT concern expressed was business continuity and high availability (47 percent) \u2014 the end goal of nearly every security effort. Initiatives to address this critical concern include virus and malware protection, patch management and intrusion detection\/prevention. Other strategies include compliance auditing and both hardware and software replication.\nKey Concerns\n\nBusiness continuity including high availability (67 percent)\nApplication performance (49 percent)\nCustomer satisfaction (46 percent)\n\nInvestments\n\nVirus and malware protection\nPatch management\nIntrusion detection and prevention\nCompliance auditing and reporting\nHardware storage and replication\n\nAuditing\nSynsort's press release revealed that security audits are being conducted by only two-thirds of the respondents and of these, only 30 percent perform their audits on an annual basis while another 10 percent conduct their audits every two years.\nCloud security\nWhile companies are increasingly entrusting critical applications to the cloud, they are doing some with considerable trepidation. Forty-three percent of the survey respondents identified cloud security as their top security challenge for the year. Compare this with 37 percent citing the sophistication of attacks and 35 percent claiming ransomware as their #1 challenge.\nDisaster recovery\nWhile a critical component of any well-thought-out security plan, disaster recovery schemes have not held up to scrutiny. Nearly half of the businesses reported having to implement their disaster recovery plans and of these, 35 percent lost a few minutes to an hour of data, 28 percent lost a few hours, and 31 percent lost a day or more. Only half met their recovery time objectives.\nIn the survey results, it became clear that 85 percent of the respondents had NO recovery plans or were not confident in the plans they had put together.\nClearly, there is a significant need not just to pull disaster recovery plans together, but to rigorously test the plans and make sure that they work as expected.\nThe pressure is on\nThe survey results clearly indicate that the increased sophistication of attacks and expectations of rigorous security planning have put IT leaders and managers under the gun for meeting their security objectives. 2018 is not likely to be an easy year for any of them, but one in which improving their security posture will be key to their and their companies' success.\nSurvey details\nThe survey involved 5,632 global IT professionals, including CIOs, CTOs, global directors of IT infrastructure, vice presidents of technical support, senior infrastructure architects, cloud engineers, database administrators, and managers of server operations. It was administered online between January 2017 and July 2017.\nSysncort will conduct a webcast Jan. 18 to discuss the findings.