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IT risk factors survey

IT professionals will be expected to handle a growing list of functions with only average competency levels, according to a new survey about IT risk factors for 2013 published by global consulting firm Protiviti. The 2013 IT Priorities Survey, designed to help IT departments classify areas in need of attention in order to better execute the function's strategic mandate, found that IT executives are struggling to manage the wide variety of technology risk, regulatory compliance and performance challenges that now face them.

When asked to assess their competency in key areas of IT technical knowledge on a scale of one to five, with one being the lowest and five being the highest, nearly 200 CIOs, chief technology officers, chief security officers, and IT vice presidents/directors reported a 2.8 average rank for social media security, social media integration, mobile commerce security, mobile commerce integration, and mobile commerce policy.

"The continued rapid global expansion of the smart phone and mobile applications marketplace reflects the strong demand from business leaders and consumers for access to information anytime and anywhere, which presents exciting opportunities for delivering value. However, it also creates greater technology risk potential," said Kurt Underwood, a managing director with Protiviti and leader of the firm's global IT consulting unit. "The result is significant pressure on IT departments and business leaders as they are asked to deliver more mobile technology-enabled services. This pressure forces them to take on considerably more risk than they're prepared for – especially in terms of policy, integration, data management, security and data privacy related to mobile commerce and social media proliferation and innovation."

Among 21 areas of technical knowledge, survey respondents identified social media security and mobile commerce security as the areas needing most improvement. CIOs and their staffs indicated that they intended to strengthen their cyber security capabilities in order to tackle the growing threat of breaches and potential incident response procedures as well as ensuring their compliance with the increasing number of state and federal information security requirements.

Executive-level respondents also rated mobile commerce security, policy and integration among their top five priorities in the new survey's technical knowledge section, which contrasts strongly with the 2011 survey in which none of these areas made the top of the list.

Interestingly, challenges related to virtualization and cloud computing receded in the rankings compared to 2011, suggesting IT departments have a higher level of confidence in managing these areas.

Additional survey highlights

Survey results also highlighted the following findings related to IT processes and capabilities:

  • Managing and classifying enterprise data is the number one security and privacy area in need of improvement, and remains a major challenge for IT departments.
  • The IT function's top priorities are related to strategy and organization, reflecting a need to enhance the clarity and precision with which IT performance is measured, monitored and reported internally and externally, as needed to customers.
  • In terms of IT infrastructure, platform performance planning and storage management and planning are listed as top concerns, with respondents ranking their competency level in these categories at 2.8 on a scale of one to five.
  • Three primary priorities in the ‘ensuring continuity’ category are developing and maintaining business resumption plans; developing and maintaining IT disaster and recovery plans; and developing and maintaining crisis management plans.

Protiviti's 2013 IT Priorities Survey was fielded during the third and fourth quarters of 2012, and respondents answered more than 100 questions in three categories: Technical Knowledge, Process Capabilities and Organizational Capabilities. More than half of the participants work in publicly traded companies and represent virtually all industry sectors, with others working across a variety of private, government and not-for-profit organizations.

This edition of Protiviti's 2013 IT Priorities Survey is available for complimentary download at www.protiviti.com/ITsurvey

•Date: 22nd Feb 2013 • World •Type: Article • Topic: Enterprise risk management

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