Most businesses “ignoring security” when investing in new technology

As businesses strive towards digital transformation, a new report by UK software company Advanced has revealed that only 24% of organisations are prioritising security when it comes to technology investment. These findings come as a blow as separate reports (the Hiscox Cyber Readiness Report 2019, for instance) show cyber attacks continue to hit firms hard, suggesting that security is being ignored.

The 2019 Digital Business Report – an independent survey commissioned by the British software and services provider – profiles over 500 senior decision-makers working in UK businesses (both SMEs and large enterprises) in a bid to explore the state of digital transformation.

It also reveals that only a third (34%) of respondents admit regulatory change is triggering the purchase of new technology in their organisation, which is surprisingly low given the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in May last year.

“The GDPR should have been a wake-up call for organisations to better protect their customers’ personal data,” commented Justin Young, director of security and compliance at Advanced. “Why, then, are so many businesses still failing to take security seriously? Information security is important, not only because it can improve customer confidence, support good data governance and demonstrate compliance with the GDPR, but also because it’s actually a key driver to achieving successful digital transformation. In fact, no technology should be implemented without understanding its security implications.”

According to Advanced’s thorough report, only 53% of firms currently have a security strategy in place. It perhaps comes as no surprise, then, that security concerns are holding more than a third of businesses back from achieving a successful digital strategy.

While it’s unclear from the research what the concerns and barriers are, a large number of reports do suggest a skills shortage could be to blame. The latest (ISC)² report, for example, finds that 63% of organisations have a shortage of IT staff dedicated to cyber security, with 59% at moderate or extreme risk of cyber security attacks as a result.

Young added: “What’s clear is that organisations need to act now. They need to work out what skills they do have in-house to manage the basics and then, if needed, work out what to outsource and prioritise raising awareness across the rest of the workforce. Ultimately, every cyber security strategy must start with educating people that a company’s data is sensitive. What’s more, this education must not stop. That means IT and security leaders continually need to ensure a culture of responsibility is adopted at all levels.”

*Download the 2019 Digital Business Report at

**Advanced is running its ‘Cyber Security: 2019 and Beyond’ consultants briefing on 18 September in London. Attendance at this event is restricted to professionals employed by consultancy firms that advise organisations with their IT strategy. Sign up here

About the Author
Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI, Editor, Risk UK (Pro-Activ Publications) Beginning his career in professional journalism at The Builder Group in March 1992, Brian was appointed Editor of Security Management Today in November 2000 having spent eight years in engineering journalism across two titles: Building Services Journal and Light & Lighting. In 2005, Brian received the BSIA Chairman’s Award for Promoting The Security Industry and, a year later, the Skills for Security Special Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Security Business Sector. In 2008, Brian was The Security Institute’s nomination for the Association of Security Consultants’ highly prestigious Imbert Prize and, in 2013, was a nominated finalist for the Institute's George van Schalkwyk Award. An Honorary Fellow of The Security Institute, Brian serves as a Judge for the BSIA’s Security Personnel of the Year Awards and the Securitas Good Customer Award. Between 2008 and 2014, Brian pioneered the use of digital media across the security sector, including webinars and Audio Shows. Brian’s actively involved in 50-plus security groups on LinkedIn and hosts the popular Risk UK Twitter site. Brian is a frequent speaker on the conference circuit. He has organised and chaired conference programmes for both IFSEC International and ASIS International and has been published in the national media. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk UK at Pro-Activ Publications in July 2014 and as Editor of The Paper (Pro-Activ Publications' dedicated business newspaper for security professionals) in September 2015. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk Xtra at Pro-Activ Publications in May 2018.

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