IT faces growing responsibilities with average competency: Survey

Social media security, integration among top challenges
||Last Updated: 02/22/2013

IT professionals will be expected to handle a growing list of functions with only average competency levels, according to a survey published by global consulting firm Protiviti.

IT executives are struggling to manage the wide variety of technology risk, regulatory compliance and performance challenges that now face them, found the 2013 IT Priorities Survey of nearly 200 CIOs, chief technology officers, chief security officers and IT vice-presidents and directors worldwide.

When asked to assess their competency in key areas of IT technical knowledge on a scale of one to five, respondents reported a 2.8 average rank for social media security, social media integration, mobile commerce security, mobile commerce integration and mobile commerce policy.

"The continued rapid global expansion of the smart phone and mobile applications marketplace reflects the strong demand from business leaders and consumers for access to information anytime and anywhere, which presents exciting opportunities for delivering value. However, it also creates greater technology risk potential," said Kurt Underwood, managing director at Protiviti and leader of the firm's global IT consulting unit.

"The result is significant pressure on IT departments and business leaders as they are asked to deliver more mobile technology-enabled services. This pressure forces them to take on considerably more risk than they're prepared for — especially in terms of policy, integration, data management, security and data privacy related to mobile commerce and social media proliferation and innovation."

Among 21 areas of technical knowledge, social media security and mobile commerce security are the areas needing the most improvement, according to respondents, who said they intend to strengthen their cyber security capabilities in order to tackle the growing threat of breaches and potential incident response procedures.

Executive-level respondents also rated mobile commerce security, policy and integration among their top five priorities in the technical knowledge section, which contrasts with the 2011 survey in which none of these areas made the top of the list. On the other hand, challenges related to virtualization and cloud computing receded in the rankings compared to 2011, suggesting IT departments have a higher level of confidence in managing these areas, said Protiviti.

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