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2018 Predictions: Security Will Be at the Top of the CIO Agenda

December 21, 2017 by Chris Conry

Editor’s Note: Over the next few weeks, you’ll hear from several Fuzers, including CEO Colin Doherty and Chairman Steve Kokinos, on the key trends that will not only shape business communications, but the workplace at large, as we look ahead to 2018. Our next post comes from Chief Information Officer Chris Conry, who shares his predictions on what CIOs will focus on for 2018.

In today’s connected world, businesses are creating an unprecedented amount of data. The major cyber threats of 2017, such as WannaCry and NotPetya, have demonstrated how creative hackers can be in gaining access to your most important – and sensitive – information. According to Cybersecurity Ventures, cybercrime damages will cost the world roughly $6 trillion by 2021. In the last year alone, we have seen industry behemoths across sectors fall victim to cyberattacks including Target, Equifax, Anthem Inc., and Uber, demonstrating that no one industry is safe. No matter what sector your organization supports, the business’ CIO should be present for all discussions around mitigation and management of risk.

CIOs will focus on security workforce education

As a result, security is on every CIOs’ mind as one of the top challenges moving into 2018 and beyond. Regardless of industry, data, and network, integrity must be maintained so that employees and customers can be successful – whether that means having the ability to do their job well, or feel secure in an organization’s services and the protection of one’s personal information. This also presents, however, a huge area of opportunity for CIOs to guide their company’s approach to cyber protection. The major shift we’ll see will be a newfound sense of urgency around workforce education. CIOs will take the reins on leading these workshops, but will also aim to give teams the tools they need to respond to attacks efficiently and effectively. They will also be looking to incorporate third-party partners and/or vendors with a new fervor, to augment internal security expertise and prepare for any eventuality.

The consumerization of tech will fuel Shadow IT concerns   

Similarly, shadow IT will continue to present its own set of unique challenges and opportunities for CIOs. Given the consumerization of technology, employees are bound to want to use their favorite app that they feel improves their personal productivity in the workplace, whether that application is company-sanctioned or not. Companies can have mobile endpoint security solutions in place, but there’s always the chance that an unsecure application will make its way into the workplace. CIOs can work with IT teams to improve on how shadow IT fits into the organization’s overall IT structure. Rather than worrying about the consequences of shadow IT or denying its existence, CIOs will accelerate the vetting of non-IT led services, find solutions that streamline the exchange of data from one system to another, simplify authentication and the provisioning/de-provisioning of access, and ensure that sensitive corporate data remains secure.

GDPR will reshape how companies think about data privacy

One major event taking place in mid-2018 is the enforcement of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Come May 25th, GDPR will reshape data privacy laws across Europe and dictate how businesses collect, process, and store personal data on individuals in the EU. With this new regulation on the horizon, CIOs are hyper-focused on ensuring that their companies’ products and services, as well as their privacy documentation and contractual agreements, are aligned with compliance requirements. If they have not already begun the process prior to GDPR, CIOs have the opportunity to augment their company’s information security culture and behavior, and enact an organization-wide shift in how all data is ultimately processed, stored and managed at every level.

What do you think will be the biggest opportunity for CIOs next year? Tweet your thoughts to @Fuze.

Want more predictions? Check out this piece from our CTO Keith Johnson on what’s ahead for AI in 2018. 

Chris Conry
Chris Conry

As CIO, Chris Conry heads our global IT and information security functions, leveraging more than two decades of experience in IT and operational leadership, with a primary focus in growth-oriented high-tech businesses. Chris is a purveyor of cloud-first IT strategy and has a strong track record of delivering agile, business-enabling solutions for private and public enterprises.

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