Top Three IT Workplace Issues Prevent CIOs From Sleeping

Posted by Heidi SchwartzSleepless IT professional.

What worries chief information officers (CIOs) and IT professionals the most? According to a survey commissioned by Sungard® Availability Services™ (Sungard AS)—a provider of information availability through managed IT, cloud, and recovery services—security, downtime, and talent acquisition weigh heaviest on their minds.

Due to the increasing frequency and complexity of cyber-attacks, security ranks highest among IT concerns in the workplace for CIOs; as a result, more than half of survey respondents (51%) believe security planning should be the last item to receive budget cuts in 2015.

While external security threats are top of mind for IT professionals, internal threats are often the root cause of security disasters. Nearly two-thirds of the survey respondents cited leaving mobile phones or laptops in vulnerable places as their chief security concern (62%), followed by password sharing (59%). These internal security challenges created by employees, lead 60% of respondents to note that in 2015 they would enforce stricter security policies for employees.

The deep concern about security is increasingly warranted. Aside from harming a company’s reputation, a security breach can prove costly. A recent study conducted by the Ponemon Institute found that the average cost of a data breach in 2014 exceeded $5.85 million.1

Second to security, downtime is also a leading concern for CIOs. Two-in-five (42%) respondents consider the testing of their disaster recovery plans vital to their organizations and also among the last line items that should be cut from 2015 IT budgets. Not only is downtime expensive, but the damage to an enterprise’s reputation far outweighs the monetary costs.

Disaster recovery testing dramatically reduces downtime (by 75%) for enterprises deemed “best-in-class” in disaster recovery and business continuity.2 In addition, according to the Aberdeen Group, those businesses that adopt strong resiliency plans can expect 90% less downtime per event compared to the industry average.

“Today, CIOs are more concerned with the resiliency of their organizations and the consequences a disaster can have on an organization’s reputation and revenue stream,” said Keith Tilley, executive vice president, Global Sales & Customer Services, Sungard AS. “The implications that information security and downtime threats place on a business have evolved and become more complex in the last several years, making it a high priority for CIOs.

The need for top IT talent continues to be a growing challenge for the technology sector in 2015 and 38% of respondents noted that CIOs are concerned about talent acquisition. This issue comes in third on the list of top work-related issues for IT professionals.

While this stands as a top-of-mind concern for CIOs, 50% of respondents believe talent acquisition and retention does not get the appropriate focus from the business and often gets overlooked. Talent acquisition ranked higher than any other overlooked IT issue in the workplace including data center expansion, shadow IT, and others.

“It’s clear that information security, downtime avoidance, and talent acquisition are of utmost importance for organizations across the board. The proper planning and preparation will allow CIOs and IT professionals to stay ahead of the game in 2015 and ultimately get a proper night’s rest,” concluded Tilley.

1 Ponemon Institute annual “Cost of Data Breach Survey,” sponsored in 2014 by IBM
2 Aberdeen Group, “Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery: Top Performance Capabilities of Best-In-Class IT Organizations” (Oct. 2013) and “Limit Downtime: Initiate a Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Plan Today” (Jul. 2013)