Data protection and cyber security are a top challenge for IT leaders now, as the increasing attack surface and ageing systems put many organisations at increased risk.
In today's digital economy, cyber security is a critical priority for IT leaders, as evolving cyber threats and outdated systems expose organisations to increased risk. The digital transformation sweeping industries worldwide brings to the forefront the need for robust cyber security measures. Organisations, regardless of size, realise that maintaining secure systems is not just a technical necessity but fundamental to preserving their reputation and consumer confidence.
Drawing on findings from the recent IT Leaders in the Eye of the Storm report, in this blog we will share the perspectives of 1500 IT leaders when it comes to protecting their organisations from threats, and discuss their current challenges and priorities.
A significant majority - 94% of IT leaders stated they are confident or very confident that their current technology infrastructure supports their business model, thus enabling them to do business efficiently, driving productivity, profitability and growth. However, 54% indicated that although their infrastructures are proficient, they could benefit from enhanced security measures. This highlights an awareness of the ongoing and dynamic nature of cyber threats, and the understanding that cyber security requires constant enhancement and vigilance.
Less than half (47%) of IT leaders feel their digital systems are ‘very secure’ from cyber-attacks, which reflects the ever-growing attack surface, sophistication of attack techniques, and that security is an ever-evolving practice which can always be improved and strengthened. They will never feel complacent about cyber security and nor should they. IT leaders are always going to lose sleep over cyber security as the smallest vulnerability in their digital defences can lead to significant consequences.
5% of respondents reported they ‘don’t feel secure’. Although a small proportion, this still translates into a large number of organisations that are not adequately protected against cyber threats. Many will be well aware of the number of high-profile data breaches that happened in 2023, and are working hard to ensure their own systems are resilient.
Encouragingly, 44% of IT leaders feel more prepared for a cyber-attack than they were a year ago, which suggests that these professionals have likely undertaken measures to strengthen their cyber defences, and perhaps have a greater understanding of the threat landscape.
An additional 46% of IT leaders categorise their readiness as 'somewhat' prepared. While this indicates a degree of confidence, it also implies an acknowledgment of the complexities involved in cyber security and an understanding that while current measures are in place, cyber-attack methods are continuously evolving.
The recognition of potential cyber security weaknesses comes at a time when data breaches and cyber incidents can have significant impacts on business standing, continuity, and legal compliance. The majority of IT leaders are cognizant of these risks and understand the importance of maintaining up-to-date security practices, which may include regular updates to security protocols, continuous staff training, and the consideration of advanced cyber security technologies such as AI-driven security analytics, SASE models, or zero trust architectures.
In addition, the continual adoption of new technologies through digital transformation efforts brings complexity and new security challenges. The proactive approach of these leaders in seeking to improve their security measures is a strategic move to safeguard their infrastructure against future threats while still capitalising on technological advancements.
Not surprisingly then, 41% of IT leaders say cyber security and data protection is the number one challenge this year, followed by 33% who say attracting and retaining talent. IT professionals are at the sharp end and can see how important it is to be constantly vigilant, understand vulnerabilities and the attack surface, and prepare evolving mitigation strategies.
To read the report in full, download it for free here (select the 'IT Leaders' option).