The biggest cyber fears for financial and public sector in 2018

Sophisticated cyber threats are biggest technology fear for financial and public sector in 2018 according to new research.

The financial services industry and public sector are aligned in their concerns about data and system security, with both citing a fear of harmful cyber threats emerging in 2018, according to a new study from digital workplace provider Invotra.

The research, conducted among 504 senior IT managers working across public sector and financial organisations, finds 79 per cent of those in the public sector, and 85 per cent of respondents in the financial services sector, consider data and systems security to be their biggest priority.

Both groups also say the most notable impact of high profile cyber attacks hitting the headlines was greater scrutiny on existing systems. When asked how well equipped their organisation is to defend itself against cyber attacks, the financial sector showed greater confidence, with 94 per cent saying they had a strong line of defence, compared to 88 per cent in the public sector.

Fintan Galvin, chief executive officer at Invotra, says, ‘We commissioned this research to understand digital challenges facing the financial and public sectors. Both sectors are under pressure to modernise systems, make them accessible, and to keep pace with emerging technologies; all the while tackling sophisticated security threats. These are real hurdles for IT professionals today so it’s no wonder they have concerns for the year ahead.’

Transforming digitally

Exploring respondents attitudes to digital transformation, public sector IT managers were asked how well they felt the sector was progressing. Forty-four per cent describe digital transformation as ‘an important focus’, but say the public sector is way behind the private sector.

There was greater confidence and belief among financial services professionals, with a smaller proportion (19 per cent) feeling financial services lags behind other sectors, and just a small proportion (8 per cent) of respondents in the financial sector describing digitisation as ‘an aspiration’ and ‘not an achievable goal’.

In the public sector, a larger proportion (18 per cent) say digital transformation was ‘a buzzword’ and describe it as ‘meaningless’, and a fifth said digital transformation was too costly compared to 13 per cent in the finance sector.

With the emphasis on improving digital services, Invotra also wanted to understand how technology professionals rate current investment levels. Almost half (49 per cent) of public sector respondents say about the right amount has been invested to support broader digital transformation initiatives, but almost a third (32 per cent) said investment to date had been inadequate.

In the financial sector, 64 per cent of respondents believe the right amount has been invested in improving digital services, and a much smaller proportion (18 per cent) believe not enough spend has been dedicated to modernisation.

Respondents were also asked to rate their organisation’s investment in emerging technologies, including blockchain, artificial intelligence, predictive analytics and biometrics. Forty-six per cent of public sector IT professionals believe about the right amount has been invested but more than a third (37 per cent) would like to see greater investment. In the financial sector, more than half (54 per cent) believe current investment levels are appropriate, but a fifth believe their organisation is spending too much on emerging technologies. A far smaller proportion (23 per cent) thinks too little is being spent.

Fintan Galvin concludes, ‘It’s clear from our study that finance technology professionals understand the need to drive change. But, they are charged with providing an accessible digital workplace with meaningful results in terms of improving people’s work lives, whilst facing sophisticated security threats. And, there is, of course, pressure to do more with less.

‘Organisations need to wake up and realise that enhancing digital capabilities is about enabling people and not the sole responsibility of IT departments. This research highlights a need for widespread buy in, and understanding of digital workplace technologies across organisations, and for proper user training. Without this, transforming the internal and external customer experience, is going to prove impossible.’

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