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Tech heads focus on security, privacy

Also see increased influence in C-suites

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Tech heads focus on security, privacy

As organizations continue to undergo major changes and technology upgrades, CIOs and IT professionals are under growing pressure to manage these transformations successfully while simultaneously addressing increased cyber security threats, according to a survey by Protiviti.

It found that the roles of CIOs and business-minded technology leaders continue to encompass a broadening scope of responsibilities. These leaders’ priorities have increased in significance and severity since the firm’s 2014 survey—a result that stems in great part from growing security and privacy concerns.

“Gone are the days where information security and data privacy vulnerabilities are viewed as just technical issues,” says Kurt Underwood, a managing director with Protiviti and global leader of the firm's IT consulting practice. “Today, these challenges include critical business policy, governance, compliance, and communications that must be addressed across the enterprise, placing even more responsibilities on the shoulders of executive management.”

Underwood says that the firm’s survey findings show that organizations going through major transformations see the need to elevate more of their attention and budgets toward mitigating and combating security risks as they seek to enhance and protect the value of their businesses with technology.

2015 priorities

More than 1,000 respondents, including CIOs, IT vice presidents, and IT directors, participated in this year’s survey to provide feedback on what they view to be the most critical priorities for 2015.

Across an assessment of a number of technology-related categories, the following issues were ranked by respondents as this year’s most significant priorities on the survey’s indexed list:

• Virtualization (86%)

• Virus/malware advanced threat and detection (83%)

• Data breach and privacy laws (83%)

• Enterprise architecture (81%)

• Incident response success (83%)

• Monitoring security events (84%)

• Data architecture (81%)

• Data governance (81%)

• Incident response policy and preparedness (82%)

• Incident response reaction time (83%)

• IT project management (82%)

• Patch management (83%)

• Vulnerability scanning (82%)

Transforming in-house IT

At the same time that companies are challenged with cyber security risks, they’re also focused on implementing and managing transformation in their organizations.

Well over half of all organizations surveyed (60%) are undergoing a major IT transformation. Most of these initiatives will last a year or longer, intensifying demands on IT departments to manage these changes successfully while addressing other critical business needs (e.g., cyber security).

The top three reasons given by survey respondents for undergoing IT transformation were:

• Cost/simplification (64%)

• New functionality (mobile, new products, etc.) (55%)

• Service assurance (48%)

Separately, the survey also found that CIOs and IT professionals are placing a greater emphasis on strengthening their internal relationships by opening the lines of communication with C-level and senior executives, the board of directors, and business-unit leaders. According to the report, 42% of CIOs and IT professionals report to the CEO; 21% to the CFO; and 22% report to the COO.

Obtain a copy of Protiviti’s 2015 IT Priorities Survey results and related materials

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