Companies are quickly ramping up investment in data and cybersecurity as they look to become more compliant with new data privacy protection and security regulations—and to avoid highly damaging data breaches, according to the 2018 Harvey Nash/KPMG CIO Survey.
The survey analyzed responses from organizations with a combined annual cybersecurity spend of up to $46 billion, and found that almost a quarter (23 percent) more respondents than in 2017 are prioritizing improvements in cybersecurity as cyber crime threats reach an all-time high. At the same time, managing operational risk and compliance has also become a significantly increased priority (up 12 percent). These two areas represent the fastest-growing IT priorities of company boards of directors, according to the research.
In its 20th year, the 2018 Harvey Nash/KPMG CIO Survey included nearly 4,000 CIOs and technology leaders across various industries and 84 countries.
As survey officials noted, IT leaders continue to face the challenging task of delivering rich, customer-centric data in an environment laden with risk. Data trust and privacy threats continue to hold the attention of CIOs, but while measures to improve data security are underway within companies and through legislation such as General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), more than a third (38 percent) of those surveyed in April expected they would not be GDPR compliant at the May 25 deadline.
Additionally, 77 percent of IT leaders say they are “most concerned” about the threat of organized cyber crime, up from 71 percent last year. Only one fifth (22 percent) say they are well prepared for a cyber attack. The drive toward protecting data has caused a huge demand for “security and resilience” skills, which experienced the biggest jump in skills shortages, increasing 25 percent year-on-year.
As such, a move toward digital platforms and solutions is proving a significant challenge for CIOs. While organizations recognize an effective digital strategy is critical to successful data security, many report they still struggle, with 78 percent stating that their digital strategy is only moderately effective, or worse. More than a third of companies (35 percent) report they can’t hire and develop the people with digital skills that they need, and almost one in 10 (9 percent) say there is no clear digital vision or strategy at all.
“Data is shaping the business world from head to toe. We see it in the urgency of right now with the need to protect data privacy and ensure data integrity. We see data shaping the future as machine learning and AI advancements push beyond data analysis into a place where IT systems are combing, learning and reacting to data with strategic solutions," Bob Miano, President and CEO, Harvey Nash USAPAC, said in a statement. "With so much dependent on the protection and promise of data, the next five years will be a continued struggle to find, recruit, and retain skilled data science and analytics professionals."
And to help with digital success, chief digital officers (CDOs) are proving their worth, the survey data revealed. Organizations with a CDO, either in a dedicated or acting role, are over twice as likely to have a clear and pervasive digital strategy than those without one (44 percent versus 21 percent). The report also shows that the most influential and successful organizations are fanatical about delivering value both to and from their customers—“customer-centric” organizations are 38 percent more likely to report greater profitability than ones that are not.
What’s more, for the fourth year in a row in this survey, big data and analytics is the number one skill in short supply (46 percent). And, two-thirds (65 percent) say skills shortages are preventing them from keeping up with the pace of change.