2021 Global CIO Survey- CIO priorities: Business continuity, resilience, and mitigating risk

The move to remote working during the pandemic tested security teams to the limit as they rushed to support a borderless workforce with makeshift infrastructures. The effects of this rapid change in working environments are still being felt today, with 94% of CIOs concerned about serious security threats over the next 12 months with data breaches (47%), malware and ransomware (39%) and lack of staff awareness (30%) noted as key areas of concern.  

This data comes from the 2021 Logicalis Global CIO Survey, a 4-part study of over 1000 CIOs, which looks to uncover the key challenges facing CIOs. Part 4 of the study looks at how CIOs can manage the increased security threat brought on by hybrid and remote working practices. 

When these threats do arise, it can lead to issues such as a loss of business-critical data and stalled business growth, and in serious cases, the complete shutdown of an organisation. Due to the severe disruption created by these threats, cybersecurity teams must have strategies in place to prevent the worst-case scenario, and ensure the modern workforce is secure no matter where they work.  

The need for more robust strategies is recognised by CIOs, however, only 45% of businesses have put this recognition into action. Investing in tools is no longer sufficient to protect organisations. Policies and strategies that support and protect the modern workplace, are vital to ensuring disruption is as limited as possible.  

Mark Benson, CTO of Logicalis UKI: “The pandemic led to a rapid shift to remote business frameworks and forced many organisations to set up temporary network security solutions in reaction to the larger cyber threat surface. One key element of the hybrid working structure is making sure everything stays secure—a task that is challenging in a decentralised workspace. Many measures have been implemented, but more action is needed to secure remote workers and increase business resilience. Failure to prepare is preparing to fail. Adopting a holistic cybersecurity plan ensures businesses are prepared for cyber-attacks and can quickly recover and resume critically affected systems and technologies. With a comprehensive plan, created with advice from a trusted partner, companies can rest assured knowing they’re protected.” 

Alongside mitigating risk and ensuring business resilience, it is important that leaders keep their business moving forward, by focusing on innovation and adapting their existing business model to new conditions. The CIO Survey found that 79% of CIOs are focusing on innovation over the next 12 months to keep their business in line with the changing times.  

With the right strategic approach, companies can combine security, resilience, and innovation, to create a clear competitive advantage. Businesses must act now to capitalise on the tools and skills available to them to protect themselves and their employees against cyber threats, while enabling the business to innovate.  

To find out how businesses can strive for innovation while mitigating risk and bolstering business resilience, download the fourth part of the global survey here.