Are UK companies being left vulnerable by their CIOs?

Last updated: 21 March 2014

We had a great reaction from our followers on our research into the issues that are keeping CIOs awake at night. Here on the blog we discussed the findings across the United Kingdom, France, Germany, the USA and the Nordics. Let’s take a look the UK findings in more detail.

If you’ve seen or shared our infographic, you’ll have noticed that over three-quarters of UK CIOs surveyed believe that the influx of tablets into the workplace is a particular headache to deal with. Yet surprisingly, the UK believes the level of risk posed by their organisation’s existing mobile device policy is low – lower than any other nation in fact. This could be down to the flexibility available to employees: almost a third of UK respondents said they had a hybrid strategy incorporating both enterprise-mandated and open approaches to BYOD.

But who can help solve this problem? Well, 81% of the UK said that the responsibility for dealing with IT security lay with the CIO and should stay with the CIO, whereas in other countries there seem to be more who feel it was something for the CEO to handle (particularly among smaller companies).

TechRepublic’s Nick Heath published a blog post recently on ‘How the CIO is letting the IT department down’, which raised the issue of whether CIOs are performing at a high enough level to get noticed by the board. What was extremely worrying from our research was that more than half of UK CIOs are not even getting the basics right. 52 percent said that they did not plan to implement any strong authentication methods, such as two-factor authentication, across their business. However, a third of UK CIOs revealed they are already using two-factor authentication with a hard token, which suggests the crux of the problem is a lack of education, which leaves half of these businesses at risk of being compromised.

The UK also had the least number of respondents who had extra security measures in place for remote access, and seemed overly dependent on firewalls to secure their systems. What this all suggests is that a number of UK-based companies are at not doing enough to protect their digital assets, whether because of complacency or a lack of awareness about the digital world.

The UK government is putting a lot of support behind young, technologically-driven firms as it tries to grow its way out of a double-dip recession. It’s a difficult time and budgets are tight, but one thing UK companies cannot afford is to lose business to more digitally-savvy rivals in Europe.

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