Many organizations have made significant improvements in IT security preparedness and effectiveness, taking steps to improve their security posture, according to new research from SolarWinds, a provider of IT management software.

The company’s survey of 221 IT professionals in North America conducted between December 2015 and March 2016 in conjunction with Penton Research, showed that more than half (55%) said their organizations did not experience any security breaches in 2015. About 30% said they had experienced a breach.

Half of the respondents said their organizations were less vulnerable than they were a year ago, compared with 12% who said they are more vulnerable.

“The most surprising finding of the survey is just how many organizations are less vulnerable today than they were a year ago, and, on a related note, how many have implemented security technologies and better security training,” said Mav Turner, director, business strategy, SolarWinds.

“While this is a sign the industry is trending in the right direction, it’s important for IT professionals to never get too confident in their organizations’ security posture, which could potentially result in overestimating one’s defenses,” Turner says.

The findings also illustrate how high the stakes are, Turner noted. While less than one-third of organizations experienced a security breach in 2015, of those nearly 72% store potentially sensitive customer data.

“Given the heightened international media attention on IT security breaches, it was a pleasant surprise to see that 55% of respondents did not experience any security breaches in 2015, and only 24% believe a security breach is likely in 2016,” said Kristin Letourneau, director of research at Penton. “The survey data seems to reflect a shifting focus from fear of cyber attack, to the implementation, maintenance and refinement of established and effective security systems.”

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