06 Oct 2014
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Harsh realities hit home for CIOs

By Heather Wright

Up to 63% of CIOs and CTOs admit abandoning or delaying at least one new business initiative because of cyber-security fears, according to the latest Fortinet Security Census.

The 2014 Census, which was conducted with 1600 enterprise IT decision makers worldwide, shows the harsh realities of protecting businesses.

The report did not include any New Zealand respondents, though Australia was included.

James Young, Fortinet ANZX consulting systems engineer, says its a crucial time for IT decision makers in Australia and New Zealand, with a greater focus on privacy, data regulations and the impact of emerging technology such as IoT and BYOD/mobility on enterprise security.

The census shows 'serious' boardroom pressure to keep enterprises secure has jumped almost one-third in the past 12 months, making security paramount and a primary consideration over other business initiatives.

The growing awareness of IT security within the boardroom – and the resulting pressure and involvement – was cited as a major contributor to making the IT security job more difficult, with three-quarters rating awareness of senior management as 'high' or 'very high' up from barely 50% a year ago.

That pressure contributed to 53% of IT decision makers, and 63% of those reporting a very high level of boardroom pressure and scrutiny, slowing down or cancelling a new application, service or other initiative because of cyber-security fears.

Mobility related applications and strategies are the biggest sticking points, with cloud also scoring high.

CIOs and CTOs said the increasing frequency and complexity of threats (88%) and new demands of emerging technology like IoT and biometrics (88%) pose the biggest challenge to keep their oganisations secure.

The high profile issues surrounding data privacy are also provoking action, with 90% of IT decision makers planning to change their outlook on IT security strategies in response. Of those, 56% are inclined to invest more money and resources to address the challenge, with 44% preferring instead to rethink existing strategy.

Big data and data analytics was cited by 89% of respondents as a change driver for IT security strategy”

“With IT security on the boardroom agenda, this and other challenges are clearly adding weight onto the shoulders of senior IT professionals and questioning the ability of some organisations to exploit innovation while remaining secure,” Fortinet says.

“These organisations must act now to address the impact of the growing threat environment and increased scrutiny on IT security, re-evaluating their goals to ensure they strike the right balance and achieve resilience in the face of cyber threats.”

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