Canadian Underwriter

Cybersecurity, managing business disruptions among top priorities for IT leaders

March 13, 2014   by Canadian Underwriter

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Cybersecurity and managing data privacy are considered among the most important priorities for IT leaders and chief information officers, according to the latest survey from consulting firm Protiviti.

Roughly 1,100 respondents, including CIOs, IT vice presidents, and IT directors – mainly in North America – provided responses for the firm’s 2014 IT Priorities study.

Areas related to cybersecurity and data privacy were considered “significant priorities” (greater than 6.0 on a scale of one to 10), Protiviti noted.

In the Managing Security and Privacy category, “developing and maintaining security and privacy standards” and “monitoring security events” had a 6.4 rating, while several aspects of “incident response” also ranked highly with a 6.3 rating and “managing and classifying enterprise data” received a 6.2 rating.

Companies are also placing more emphasis on preparedness for business disruptions, in the wake of severe weather, natural disasters and cyber attacks, Protiviti noted.

In the Ensuring Continuity category, three areas ranked as top priorities, including: “Business continuity management and disaster recovery program testing”; “developing and maintaining IT disaster recovery plans”; and “ensuring business alignment” (all ranked highest in the category with ratings of 6.2).

Overall, the top five major areas that present the most pressing challenges for IT professionals, according to Protiviti’s research are:

“Enhancing and protecting business value – aligning and integrating IT risk management and business continuity capabilities with broader, long-term business strategy

“Cybersecurity – managing and strengthening security and privacy for the organizations’ systems and data is now a top priority across all industries

“Data classification – effectively organizing, managing, and securing growing amounts of data within the organization

“IT asset and data management – improving data and information governance programs, driven by the growing use of mobile devices and applications and the continued integration of cloud computing into IT strategy and processes

“Mobile platforms and social media – incorporating secure, integrated systems for mobile commerce, devices, etc. and addressing social media safeguards and strategy within the organization”

“More so than in prior years, IT departments are not only altering their structures, they are transforming their fundamental mission,” Kurt Underwood, a managing director with Protiviti and global leader of the firm’s IT consulting practice noted in a press release.

“The IT function’s objective is evolving from simply responding to last year’s technology requests to helping shape aspects of business strategy through execution with an integrated approach to operations that adds value and protects the enterprise.”