18 March 2020

Cyber security has moved into first place on the list of IT leaders’ biggest concerns, an annual survey has found.

Each year BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT asks its members to reveal details of their major professional priorities and the solutions needed.

18% said cyber security was top of their to-do list, moving it to the number one spot this year, going past Cloud computing (16%) and remaining above AI and automation technologies (14%).

The finding was confirmed by the question ‘What keeps you awake at night?’ to which over 35% put the cyber security issue above any other, ahead of ‘pace of change’ with 15%.

Looming threats IT managers said were occupying them included: ‘industrial espionage’, ‘data sovereignty post-Brexit’, ‘a sophisticated and advanced cyber attack’, and ‘a single error on a public site causing widespread disruption or data breach.’

The results come as The National Cyber Security Centre, part of GCHQ, highlights a spike in cyber attacks since the spread of the Coronavirus.

The Institute’s members, who include Directors in financial services, defence and telecoms, said improving the IT skills of the whole workforce was the most urgent action needed to address the problem, followed by increasing budgets.

Two-thirds said organisations’ use of personal data had had a negative impact on public trust in the IT industry, and nearly half thought cyber security issues had also reduced credibility.

Paul Fletcher, Chief Executive of BCS said: “Our members work at the forefront of major organisations where malicious exploitation of the Coronavirus pandemic is adding to issues like the increased vulnerability of 5G, data breaches and regulatory uncertainty post-Brexit; all are combining to make cyber security the top priority.

“Beyond direct financial losses, cyber attacks also pose long-term reputational and legal risks for organisations. IT Leaders know true data security is as much about professionalism and people as it is about the tech, and investment in staff development is the single biggest thing that can be done to mitigate these risks.”

More than 300 IT leaders responded to BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT’s annual survey of their views on the near-term future of the industry.

The study was conducted online during the period 9 December 2019 to 7 January 2020.

BCS is currently carrying out of a survey of professionals working in digital aspects of health and social care about their views on readiness to handle the Covid-19 outbreak.

It is also analysing results of a survey on diversity and inclusion, as part of its programme of policy and research for the industry and will publish the results in summer.

Read the IT leaders 2020 report

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