Pressure on CSOs as executives, getting smarter on IT security, defer projects

Increased pressure from the board room is making the CSO job harder and increasing security concerns are pushing many organisations to delay or abandon new business initiatives, a new global survey has found.

Much of the change has come from growing security awareness amongst senior management, the Fortinet Security Census 2014 – a survey of 1610 IT and business executives in Australia and 14 other countries – found. Two-thirds rated their senior management's awareness as 'high' or 'very high'. That's up significantly from the survey a year earlier, when the number was around 40 percent.

This growing awareness was correlated with an increasing tendency to slow down or cancel the rollout of a new application or service due to cybersecurity fears: 52 percent of respondents said this had happened within their organisation – most frequently in relation to mobile or cloud computing-related initiatives. This figure jumped to 65 percent among those organisations reporting a 'very high' level of boardroom pressure and scrutiny around IT security.

Instead, many executives were spending more money on compliance related security initiatives such as privacy – which was driving a change in IT security strategy by 83 percent of surveyed executives. Others were rethinking their strategy based on initiatives such as big data, which was driving 81 percent of respondents as a driver for changes in IT security strategy.

Three-quarters of the surveyed IT security executives said they were getting adequate staff and financial resources, with 77 percent believing they would have sufficient resources in the next 12 months.

Significantly, these figures were up over last year's surveys: 67 percent of public-sector executives agreed that they had enough resources, compared with 61 percent last year. By contrast, some 85 percent of technology-industry executives said they had enough resources – up from 76 percent last year.

The emerging Internet of Things (IoT) was also cited as a significant uncertainty, with 31 percent of respondents saying the technology has already become an issue or will do so within the next 12 months. Of those, only half believe they have the tools to manage IoT securely.

“It’s a crucial time for [IT executives] in Australia, with a greater focus on privacy, data regulations and the impact of emerging technology such as IoT and BYOD/mobility on enterprise security,” said ANZ consulting systems engineer James Young in a statement.

“To protect against the heightened pressures on IT security, organisations need to evaluate the best course of action that will allow them to remain secure and move forward with their business.”

This article is brought to you by Enex TestLab, content directors for CSO Australia.

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Tags cybersecuritydirectors for CSO AustraliaJames Young (ANZ systems engineer)IT SecurityCSObig dataIT Security strategyCSO AustraliaCSOs as executivessecurity concernsBYOD/mobilityEnex TestLabInternet of Things (IoT)enterprise securityFortinet Security Census 2014

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