New and complex information technology (IT) risks and changing business priorities challenge today’s IT leaders, according to a new survey from Protiviti.
The results of the study reveal six areas of priority for CIOs and their organisations: information security and privacy; virtualisation and cloud computing; social media integration; data classification and management; regulatory compliance; and vendor management.
“With the rapid rise of technology in business operations during the past decade, IT departments have been called upon to deliver a much broader array of services and solutions for their companies,” says Kurt Underwood, managing director and head of Protiviti’s IT consulting practice.
“Expectations continue to rise dramatically for the IT function to support new technologies, such as mobile devices and social media platforms that can be integrated with existing corporate systems, as well as the pervasive accumulation of sensitive data at multiple locations worldwide.”
The Protiviti 2011 IT Capabilities and Needs Survey finds that social media applications and sites such as Facebook and Twitter have exploded in popularity in the past few years and new social media sites are coming online at a rapid pace. Some firms have vague or out-of-date social media policies in place that are unenforceable if inappropriate activity occurs.
Monitoring and achieving legal and regulatory compliance ranks high among IT leaders as an area in need of improvement.
The volume and pace of regulatory change has been significant in recent years, and there are a number of regulatory issues that require IT involvement, including Dodd-Frank, Sarbanes-Oxley, Basel II, Solvency II and PCI-DSS.
“IT must be an active part of compliance management, which typically involves developing, implementing or integrating tools and platforms to achieve active compliance and risk management,” underscores Underwood.
With more and more organisations transitioning to virtualised solutions as well as applications and activities in the cloud, external service-level agreements (SLAs) with an array of third-party vendors and other providers are a key concern for IT executives, according to the study.
Similarly, determining a sound strategy and approach for outsourcing and off shoring are another critical area of focus, particularly given that many companies continue to seek innovative ways to save costs.
However, many of these organisations lack clarity or direction about how to accomplish this effectively while continuing to deliver a high level of service and maintain compliance with company policies, applicable laws and regulations.
Because data breaches are costly and affect not just operations but also brand reputation, information security is another top priority for IT executives.