Despite Demands of Ongoing Transformation, CIOs and IT Professionals Remain Focused on Security and Privacy in 2015

Menlo Park, CA - 25 March 2015

Global survey report from Protiviti identifies top priorities for CIOs and IT professionals 

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 cybersecurity threats, according to a new survey by global consulting firm Protiviti 

Protiviti's 2015 IT Priorities Survey found that the roles of CIOs and business-minded technology leaders continue to encompass a broadening scope of responsibilities. The priorities of these leaders 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. 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," said Kurt Underwood, a managing director with Protiviti and global leader of the firm's IT consulting practice. "Our 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."

The Top IT Priorities in 2015

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 10 technology-related categories, the following issues were ranked by respondents as this year's most 'significant' priorities on the survey's indexed list* (including ties):

1. 

  • Virtualization** (86 percent)

2.

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

3. 

  • Data breach and privacy laws (83 percent) (tie)
  • Enterprise architecture (81 percent)
  • Incident response success (83 percent)
  • Monitoring security events (84 percent)

7.

  • Data architecture (81 percent)  (tie)
  • Data governance (81 percent)
  • Incident response policy and preparedness (82 percent)
  • Incident response reaction time (83 percent)
  • IT project management (82 percent)
  • Patch management (83 percent)
  • Vulnerability scanning (82 percent)

*IT priorities were indexed on a point scale of 1-10 (10 being highest). Any issue with an index of 6.0 or higher was considered a "significant priority." Percentages were calculated for the "significant priority" category (between 6-10 points on the scale).

**Virtualization is the creation of a remote and often shared (rather than local and owned) technology resource, such as a server, data storage, platform or application.

At the same time as companies are challenged with cybersecurity risks, they're also focused on implementing and managing transformation in their organizations. Well over half of all organizations surveyed (60 percent) 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., cybersecurity).

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

  • Cost/simplification (64 percent)
  • New functionality (mobile, new products, etc.) (55 percent)
  • Service assurance (48 (percent)

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 percent of CIOs and IT professionals report to the CEO; 21 percent to the CFO; and 22 percent report to the COO.

Protiviti's 2015 IT Priorities Survey was fielded within the last 90 days across the globe; the majority of respondents stem from North America. Respondents work across the public, private, government and non-profit sectors and are representative of virtually all industry sectors.

Protiviti's 2015 IT Priorities Survey report and an infographic of the survey highlights, along with a short video, are available for complimentary download.

Separately, Protiviti is providing a free online benchmarking tool for IT professionals,  By submitting responses to this year's survey questions in the areas of technical knowledge, management of IT and organizational capabilities, professionals can personalize a report to compare their organization's IT capabilities and priorities with their peers.

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