IT Leaders Reveal Harsh Realities of Protecting Businesses

Ninety-three percent of Indian CIOs and CTOs believe the job of keeping their enterprise protected is becoming more challenging, according to new research from Fortinet, a global leader in high-performance network security. Serious boardroom pressure to keep the enterprise secure has jumped almost one-third in the last 12 months, making security paramount and a primary consideration over other business initiatives.

This and other findings come from an independent survey commissioned by Fortinet on 504 enterprise IT decision makers (ITDMs) in the Asia Pacific countries of Australia, China, India, Japan and South Korea. This was part of a bigger survey of over 1,600 ITDMs, largely from 500+ employee organizations, around the world. All respondents were sourced from independent market research company Lightspeed GMI’s online panel.

India highlights include:

  • Among ITDMs recording the highest boardroom pressure, 79 percent admit to abandoning or delaying at least one new business initiative because of IT security concerns.
  • The increasing frequency and complexity of threats (93 percent) and the new demands of emerging technology like the Internet of Things (IoT) and biometrics (93 percent) pose the biggest challenge to ITDMs to keep their organizations secure.
  • The majority of ITDMs have been provoked into action by rising data privacy concerns (95 percent) and securing big data initiatives (95 percent); in the majority of cases this means new IT security investment.

Boards Prioritize Security

The growing awareness of IT security within the boardroom – and its 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’ today, up from barely 51 percent one year ago. The survey also unveiled that a total of 79 percent of all Indian ITDMs surveyed have slowed down or cancelled a new application, service or other initiative because of cyber-security fears. Eighty percent of ITDMs in India reported a very high level of boardroom pressure and scrutiny around IT security. Mobility related applications and strategies are the biggest sticking points, with cloud also scoring high.

Security Concerns Rise with Emerging Technology

The rising volume/complexity of advanced persistent threats (APTs), DDoS attacks and other cyber threats, and the demands of emerging technology trends like IoT and biometrics, are the most prevalent drivers making ITDMs’ jobs more challenging. There is a big expectation across industry sectors for biometrics to arrive very soon, with 67 percent of Indian ITDMs and 40 percent of Asia Pacific ITDMs claiming the technology has already landed or will do so in the next 12 months. Ninety percent in India say they already have the tools to ensure it can be managed securely. Of the 10 percent that doesn’t feel prepared today, 70 percent of those believe they will struggle to secure biometrics in the future as well.

Data Privacy & Big Data Security Drive Increased Spending

The high profile issues surrounding data privacy are provoking action, with 95 percent of Indian and 89 percent of Asia Pacific ITDMs planning to change their outlook on IT security strategy in response. Of these, 55 percent in India are inclined to invest more money and resources to address the challenge, with 45 percent preferring instead to rethink existing strategy.

Meanwhile ‘Big Data’ and data analytics were cited by 95 percent of respondents in India as a change driver for IT security strategy, with 53 percent of these respondents planning investments.

Industry sectors with the highest predisposition to invest in IT security in India were Retail (75 percent) and Financial Services (67 percent). The research also indicated organizations of greatest size have the greatest tendency to invest.

When asked if they had been provided with sufficient human and financial resources for IT security in the last 12 months, 90 percent of Indian ITDMs said yes. A total of 90 percent feel they will also have sufficient resources in the next 12 months.

“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 organizations to exploit innovation while remaining secure,” said Rajesh Maurya, Country Manager, India & SAARC, at Fortinet. “These organizations 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.”

“The good news is that many are positive and feeling well equipped with human and financial resources for the IT security challenges that lie ahead. However, to do so points toward intelligent new strategies and more investment in security technologies.”

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