Information Security: The Most Important IT Initiative in 2015

Infosec bests data analytics, cloud, and mobile computing. What are the ramifications?

At an elementary level, IT is all about using technology to enable the business.  This really hasn’t changed, even back in the early days when IT was called data processing or management information systems.

In today’s IT world, business enablement is driving a few meta-trends.  Cheap hardware and open source software is driving big data analytics to the mainstream.  Organizations are abandoning the costs and constraints of on-site IT systems as they move applications and systems to the cloud.  Mobile devices are becoming the primary compute platform for users, automating business processes and changing application development.

Given the crazy activity around new IT initiatives like these, it may be somewhat surprising that information security was rated as the most important of all meta-trends in a recent ESG research survey (note: I am an ESG employee).  ESG asked 601 IT professionals working at mid-market (i.e. 500 to 999 employees) and enterprise (i.e. more than 1,000 employees) organizations in North America and Europe to rank 6 different meta-trends on a scale from 1 (most important) to 6 (least important).  The results were as follows:

  • Information Security:  Mean score of 2.31
  • Data center modernization (aka, software-defined data center):  Mean score of 3.42
  • Data analytics:  Mean score of 3.50
  • Use of public cloud for applications and infrastructure:  Mean score of 3.84
  • Mobility:  Mean score of 3.96
  • Reinventing application development processes for cloud and mobility:  Mean score of 3.97

So many IT initiatives are grouped together but information security stands alone as most important.  To be clear, this does not mean that enterprise organizations will hold off on these other initiatives.  Alternatively, CISOs face a difficult situation where they must reinforce cybersecurity defenses and oversight while supporting new IT initiatives.


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