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Increasing board-level awareness of enterprise security pressurising IT decision-making: Fortinet survey

T.C. Seow | Oct. 2, 2014
IT leaders reveal harsh realities of protecting businesses; enterprise security decisions reach board level and take primary consideration among business initiatives.

Nine in 10 Asia Pacific CIOs and CTOs believe the job of keeping their enterprise protected is becoming more challenging, according to new research commissioned by network security company Fortinet. Serious boardroom pressure to keep the enterprise secure has jumped almost one-third in the last 12 months, making security paramount and a primary consideration over other business initiatives.

The independent survey—conducted by market research firm Lightspeed GMI—on 504 enterprise IT decision makers in the Asia Pacific countries of Australia, China, India, Japan and South Korea. This was part of a bigger survey of over 1,600 IT decision makers, largely from organisations with 500 employees or more, around the world.

Among IT decision makers recording the highest boardroom pressure, 63 percent admitted to abandoning or delaying at least one new business initiative because of IT security concerns. The increasing frequency and complexity of threats (87 percent) and the new demands of emerging technology like the Internet of Things (IoT) and biometrics (85 percent) pose the biggest challenge to decision makers to keep their organisations secure.

The survey also shows that the majority of respondents have been provoked into action by rising data privacy concerns (89 percent) and securing big data initiatives (89 percent); in the majority of cases this means new IT security investment.

Boards prioritise security
The growing awareness of IT security within the boardroom—and its resulting pressure and involvement—was cited as a major contributor to making the IT security job more difficult, with three-quarters rating awareness of senior management as 'high' or 'very high' today, up from barely 51 percent one year ago.

The survey also unveils that a total of 54 percent of all Asia Pacific IT decision makers surveyed have slowed down or cancelled a new application, service or other initiative because of cyber-security fears. The figure is 63 percent among those reporting a very high level of boardroom pressure and scrutiny around IT security. Mobility related applications and strategies are the biggest sticking points, with cloud also scoring high.

The rising volume/complexity of advanced persistent threats (APTs), DDoS attacks and other cyber threats, and the demands of emerging technology trends like IoT and biometrics, are the most prevalent drivers making IT managers' jobs more challenging. There is a big expectation across industry sectors for biometrics to arrive very soon, with 40 percent of Asia Pacific IT decision makers claiming the technology has already landed or will do so in the next 12 months.

Sixty-two percent say they already have the tools to ensure it can be managed securely. Of the 38 percent that doesn't feel prepared today, 43 percent of those believe they will struggle to secure biometrics in the future as well.


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