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Security: The number one issue keeping IT professionals awake at night

Security is still the number one issue keeping IT professionals awake at night - according to the 2016 Digital Leaders survey produced by BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT.

With the rise in cybercrime continuing at a rapid pace it is hardly surprising that, for the second year running, security tops the list of things that keep IT professionals awake at night. The ability to respond effectively to the need for digital transformation was also highlighted. Digital leaders are concerned about the difficulty of keeping their entire organisation on the same page when it comes to the change culture and attitude to risk that digital transformation requires.

Organisations' security priorities

Information security (59 per cent), along with cloud computing (48 per cent) and mobile computing, including BYOD (34 per cent), are the top priorities for many organisations over the next 12 months.

This is the fifth year that we have conducted our Digital Leaders survey and the results show that certain issues remain key concerns for IT professionals.

The issue of skills is still prevalent; only 13 per cent of participants feel that their organisation has enough resources to address the management issues and IT trends that their company has prioritised. More than half (53 per cent) indicated that they need enhanced IT skills among their existing workforce while exactly the same percentage (48 per cent) requires additional IT staff that are suitably qualified, and 35 per cent would like a bigger budget.

Other areas of concern and likely to keep people awake include:

  • Risks from Internet of Things devices adding to existing cyber risks
  • Widespread incorrect understanding of governance
  • The dearth of good engineers coming through the ranks
  • Losing development and delivery capability in the UK because companies are not investing or believing in the UK

Keeping our digital economy competitive

Our survey reveals that organisations feel they do not have the necessary skills to help them face the IT trends that they know they need to address in order to remain competitive. This continues to be a serious issue, not just for individual organisations, but also for the UK as a whole.

This situation should ring alarm bells for both the IT industry as well as the wider economy. New technology is dramatically changing the way that businesses operate. New innovations and ways of working require new skills from the profession. In order for the UK to remain competitive in the global marketplace - we need to generate growth, but this can’t be done without a suitably qualified workforce - and failure to address this shortage could prove disastrous for the economy. Improving productivity is vital to the success of any company and digital leaders and their team are central to the organisation, helping to increase efficiency and maximise competitive advantage in the marketplace.

The attributes needed to drive a business forward are constantly evolving so businesses need to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to changes in technology and workflow. A good digital leader will be considering what the future will hold and how it will affect their organisation.

Digital leaders are being tasked with high level responsibilities that can shape a whole organisation, so it is vital that their teams are equipped with the right tools to achieve their goals and compete on a global scale.

In summary, our survey has provided a small snapshot of the IT industry at the beginning of 2016 and illustrates that there’s plenty for the digital leader to do, to consider and to worry about, as well as look forward to.

Paul Fletcher, Group Chief Executive Officer at BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT