What keeps CIO’s awake at night?

March 3, 2015


According to a recent survey of 275 CIO’s by Sunguard Availability Services, amongst all the worry and troubles keeping CIO’s awake at night three particular subjects are becoming a trend:

  • Security
  • Downtime
  • Talent acquisition

As the frequency and complexity of cyber attacks continue to rise, security ranks one of the highest concerns for today’s CIO. More than 50% of all survey respondents believe security should  be the last item to receive a budget cut. I believe this is far from reality and many companies are failing to increase or maintain a continued investment in their security.

While many still believe the threat remains outside the company boundaries, internal threats are becoming the increasing root cause to many security disasters. 62% of CIO’s commented that they believe employees leaving mobile phones and laptops in vulnerable places is a growing concern, in addition to 59% believing that password sharing is a top concern.

These statistics and beliefs are leading CIO’s to place stronger policies in place to govern and restrict exposure. The debate remains whether in turn this restricts innovation and accessibility.

One CIO commented how he believed “end users are the first line of defense especially against phishing and similar  breach attempts.”

I personally believe there will be a significant shift in 2015 to user training and education to change behaviour towards security best practices. Only then in conjunction with a robust security plan and portfolio will business see true risk reduction.

Following Security, downtime and its effect on reputation was the second major concern for CIO’s. Disaster recovery and Continuity remain expensive services and there is increasing pressure to cut these costs and bring further savings without compromising on recovery procedures.

In my opinion this has lead many organisations to take a more holistic view of their Disaster Recovery and Continuity. These services have traditionally been funded and budgeted by a trust between the CIO and the CEO without all business stake holders understanding or being involved in the process. There must be honest communication between all parties to ensure essential processes and services are considered and the CIO can accurately account for risks.

One CIO commented; “Downtime is more than just an inconvenience, it can greatly impact on the organisations capability to generate revenue and grow business long term.

Talent Acquisition
38% of CIO’s surveyed believe IT Talent continues to be a growing challenge in 2015. Although this is the case, half of all surveyed CIO’s believe talent acquisition and retention does not get the appropriate attention.

One CIO commented; “It’s not just about finding talent but retaining the right skills that fit with the business culture and balance.”

I believe there is a fine balance between in house expertise and partnering for IT needs and specific expertise. The balancing act is the trade of between long term provision and short-term demand. It is clear that there are great gains for businesses establishing long term multi-killed partnerships. The correct balance will allow businesses to react to the changing pace and business requirements of today’s markets.

Today’s technology leaders need strong focus on business strategy, operations and market trends. Issues affecting security, business availability and talent need to remain at the forefront of CIO’s minds to ensure they are best prepared for the challenges ahead.

Andrew Smith Blog Photo Blog by Andrew Smith | Head of IT Professional Services | Annodata