FierceCIO: News Scan: Companies upping security investments; How CIOs can improve communication; more

Originally Published in FierceCIO | February 20, 2014 | By David Weldon

>> Majority of organizations upping IT security spending

Between recent data breaches and fears surrounding the Olympics, security is front and center on everybody’s mind. In fact, soon-to-publish research from ESG-Global reveals that 62 percent of organizations worldwide plan to increase spending on IT security technology in 2014. Security was cited as the second highest spending increase behind cloud computing. Asked which business initiatives will drive spending over the next 12 months, 39 percent said “cost cutting initiatives,” followed by “security and risk management initiatives” (cited by 34 percent). Asked to identify their most important IT priorities for 2014, 32 percent said “information security initiatives” (the number one response.)

(Read more on IT security: IT security industry to expand tenfold / Research: 41 percent increasing IT security budget in 2014)

>> Tips on how CIOs can improve communication

One of the most important tasks of any CIO is to maintain open lines of communication between the IT group and the rest of the business. Writing at CIO Insight recently, Paul Mandell offered his thoughts on three ways that CIOs can ensure better communication:

– Establish a common language: finance. “By ensuring that discussions are grounded in financial terms, everyone involved in IT-related communication can focus on the bottom line.”

– Build strategic partnerships between IT and other departments. “Let the entire office develop a greater understanding of the work of the IT department and align the interests of other departments with yours by exploring solutions to mutual challenges and goals in a regular, structured way.”

– Encourage open dialogue between IT and other departments. “If there is no constructive criticism flowing naturally in your direction, extract it yourself.”

(Read more on IT and communication: The importance of the CEO/CIO relationship / Getting the CFO-CIO relationship right)

>> Government agencies struggle with the cloud

Moving to the cloud appears to be a stormy effort for many government agencies, according to reporting by Cloud Tweaks. “Procurement red tape and a lack of trained personnel continue to plague federal departments and agencies in their efforts to comply with the directives of President Obama’s Cloud First mandate,” the web site notes. Citing a recent study from Accenture, “The Road Ahead: 3 Years after Cloud First,” it noted that nearly 70 percent of government agencies find that hiring personnel with cloud skills is a major obstacle to compliance with the President’s directive. The study also found that 30 percent of the 286 federal executives that responded to the survey said a lengthy government procurement process is also hindering their efforts to comply.

(Read more on government and the cloud: Why the U.S. government is moving to cloud computing / Microsoft to launch government cloud)

>> UK businesses also report cloud adoption woes

Meanwhile, the cloud computing news is no better across the pond, where U.K. businesses are struggling to cope with the cloud boom there. That is the word from Cloud Computing News, citing research from cloud identity management provider Okta. A recent study by that firm revealed that 79 percent of IT decision makers in the U.K. are looking to increase their investments in cloud computing this year. But seven in 10 respondents said that data security remains a top concern. The report “Identity Management in a Cloud and Mobile World” also revealed that the top drivers of IT strategy with regard to the cloud are cost reduction (cited by 62 percent) and then security (cited by 60 percent). Despite concerns with cloud computing, the vast majority (86 percent) said that the adoption of public cloud apps is important for their business.

(Read more on U.K. cloud adoptions: Why are so many businesses switching to cloud computing? / Cloud integration top priority for businesses – report)