Asia-Pacific companies long on IT security funding but short on vision: PwC

Funding for IT security programs is more available to Asia-Pacific organisations but deficiencies in security process and procedure are far more of an obstacle to IT security initiatives across the region than they are in the rest of the world, a recent survey of corporate IT security postures has found.

When asked to name the greatest obstacles to improving the effectiveness of their organisation's information security function, Asia-Pacific respondents to the PwC Global State of Information Security Survey 2014 consistently said their leadership was one of the biggest obstacles.

Fully 25.1 per cent named business executives – the CEO, president, board or equivalent – as a hindrance, while CIOs were named as the roadblock by 18.3 per cent of respondents and CISO, CSO or equivalent in 19.2 per cent of cases.

These results were consistently higher than those for the whole world, where CEOs (22.9 per cent), CIOs (16.2 per cent) and CISOs (17.5 per cent) were still named as obstacles but less frequently.

The report found even stronger variations in terms of vision and strategy – areas that should ideally be jointly set by the business and IT executives – with 28.5 per cent of Asia-Pacific respondents saying the lack of an effective information security strategy was holding back the organisation's effectiveness.

The figure for the whole world was just 22.2 per cent.

The most commonly named obstacle was the lack of an actionable vision or understanding of how future business needs impact information security, which was named by 29.7 per cent of Asia-Pacific respondents but just 23.5 per cent of global respondents.

That represents a significant variance that suggests Asia-Pacific companies are still well behind world benchmarks when it comes to elucidating corporate strategy and the role of IT security within that strategy.

Interestingly, the same survey found a significantly higher proportion (69.3 per cent) of Asia-Pacific companies have a senior executive who “proactively communicates the importance of information security to the entire organisation”. Globally, that figure was just 59.2 per cent.

This difference may suggest that while many companies have executive champions for IT security, their advocacy is failing to translate into influence on other policy-makers at the senior-executive level.

However, the figures were reversed when financial issues were considered: Asia-Pacific companies were less likely than their global peers to blame funding shortfalls for the lack of information-security improvements.

Just 21.7 per cent of Asia-Pacific companies cited a lack of capital expenditure – compared with 24.1 per cent worldwide – while 15.5 per cent of Asia-Pacific companies blamed a lack of operating expenditures, compared with 19.3 per cent worldwide.

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