Study: Business leaders lacking confidence in IT

Reduction in investment in availability, security, backup, and recovery hindering IT's ability to deal with disruptive events

When it comes to the readiness of critical IT requirements, including availability, security, as well as backup and recovery, business leaders in some of the world's top markets lack confidence in their ability to cope and recover from disruptive incidents.

Data from a recent global study conducted by Vanson Bourne, on behalf of EMC, shows that a reduction in investment in availability, security, backup, and recovery has threatened IT's ability to deal with disruptive events, including unplanned downtime, data loss, or security incidents. Based on the responses from those who took part in the study, one of the underlying issues appears to be communication.

Vanson Bourne interviewed 3,200 business leaders across the globe, and found that 45 percent of them felt that senior executives within their respective organizations lacked confidence in the adequacy of existing availability, security, and backup and recovery deployments. This lack of confidence was surely compounded by the fact that a majority of them experienced one or more disruptive incidents.

[Senior executives blamed for a majority of undisclosed security incidents]

Over the last twelve months, 61 percent of the respondents suffered a disruptive incident, such as unplanned downtime, a security breach, or data loss. As a result, their organizations were impacted in a number of different ways. A majority of the respondents reported employee productivity loss due to the incident, but that is in addition to lost revenue, lost customer confidence or loyalty, lost business opportunities, product or service delays, or problems getting a product or service to market.

Looking at disruptive incidents, in relation to data protection, security, or availability, as well as the pain that occurs because of them — a majority of respondents said that budgets were the reason that their organizations failed to achieve success. However, 35 percent also noted workload or resource constraints, 33 percent claimed that a lack of planning and anticipation, and 32 percent said a lack of knowledge and skills led to their problems. At the same time, one in five pointed to a lack of trust in existing technology as a key limiter to success.

When it comes to the top security concerns, the number one item was third-party application access, followed by intellectual property protection. However, a majority of the respondents admitted that they mainly use anti-Virus and firewalls to protect these assets. Less than twenty percent claimed to have implemented an intelligence-driven security program (SIEM), and just over ten percent claimed to have implemented some type of GRC program, despite many regulatory measures that require strict monitoring and controls.

"The four big megatrends in information technology today are cloud computing, Big Data, social networking and mobile devices. Adoption and maturity of these trends must float upon a sea of trust — trust that my information is secure in the cloud, trust that my data wont be lost or stolen, trust that my IT will be operational when it needs to be — which, these days, is all the time," David Goulden, EMC's President and Chief Operating Officer, said in a statement.

"The more trust that can be earned and guaranteed, the bigger and faster the impact of these trends. Conversely, the less trust that is established, the more limited these trends will be. Where countries fall on the IT Trust maturity curve could affect their overall ability to compete."

That curve, which measures the overall trust in IT, shows that in China, decision makers implemented the highest concentration of availability solutions, as well as security and backup and recovery technologies. The U.S. ranks second, followed by South Africa, Brazil, and Australia.

[Enterprise defenses lag despite rising cybersecurity awareness]

In the last year, according to the report, China increased IT spending on these areas some 81 percent, compared to the 64 percent increase observed in the U.S. Most of the spending increases occurred in the financial services sector, followed by life sciences, IT and technology, and healthcare.

In a statement, Irina Simmons, the Chief Risk Officer for EMC, summed up the study rather cleanly, stating the truth that most IT practitioners will do everything within their power to control and protect the enterprise. However, the breakdowns occur when it comes to communicating up the ladder.

"As a chief risk officer, I can say that investing the time to deliver these messages to your executive management team and risk committees at the board level is crucial. Otherwise, communication gaps will lead to gaps in trust. For example, the survey reveals that 70% of IT participants consider their IT functions to be a driver of a resilient and secure infrastructure, yet only 50% of non-IT decision makers see IT functions performing that role," she wrote, expanding on her statement in a company blog post.

"In mature IT organizations, success against IT threats is not just accidental or attributable to good luck, but rather the result of mature processes and deployment of the correct IT tools that continuously monitor for new threats and adjust to new issues as they are revealed."

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