Security holds technology adoption back: Dell

Security concerns of midsize businesses are preventing them from taking full advantage of cloud, mobility, and big data.

Security is the biggest concern for global midsize businesses, pervading all aspects of cloud, mobility, and big data adoption, according to the latest findings by Dell.

Dell's first Global Technology Adoption Index, which surveyed more than 2,000 global organisations, found that security is a barrier for 44 percent of respondents to adopting mobility technology, 52 percent for cloud computing, and 35 percent of those looking to leverage big data.

The index also found that while security concerns are holding organisations back from investing in major technologies, a lack of readily available security information is similarly preventing organisations from being prepared during a security breach. Only 30 percent of respondents said they have the right information available to make risk-based decisions.

The other insight about security that the index revealed was that as the c-suite becomes less engaged, more serious security concerns arise. Only 28 percent of organisations surveyed said their c-suite is fully engaged with security initiations. However, within those confident organisations, confidence has markedly increased. Among them, 84 percent of senior leaders are fully or somewhat engaged, compared to only 43 percent of senior leaders at organisations that are not confident in security.

Currently, 43 percent of security resources are primarily spent on protection against hackers, and 37 percent are adhering to compliance regulations.

"Security is the number one inhibitor to cloud, mobility, and big data adoption. Most organisations are not prepared to deal with the basic security risks, let alone secure cloud, global workforces, and data moving in and out of the firewall," said Michael Dell, Dell founder and chief executive.

"Only one in four organisations have planned for security breaches. It's not just about securing the technology; people play a very big role in addressing those risks and creating solutions that keep an environment secure.

"We found when c-suite executives were involved, security was remarkably increased, so security must be a business priority, and not just a policy within an organisation."

The index found that 97 percent of organisations are using cloud in some form, and the remaining 3 percent are not thinking about using cloud at all.

"Choosing the right cloud solution is not simple; 58 percent look to an IT partner to help," Dell said.

The findings also showed that there is a strong correlation between cloud adoption and company growth. For example, of the organisations that are using cloud, 72 percent said they experienced 6 percent growth or more in the last three years, versus companies not using cloud, where only 24 percent said they experienced growth rates of 6 percent or more. Despite large cloud adoption, security is the top concern for 52 percent of organisations.

Meanwhile, the study showed that nearly half of the organisations have implemented a mobility strategy. In fact, adoption rate was highest among Asia-Pacific organisations, with 37 percent, compared to 34 percent in Latin America, 30 percent in North America, and 20 percent in Europe, Middle East, and Africa. Of those businesses, they said they saw immediate efficiency and productivity benefits.

However, security continued to top the list as a challenge in the mobility space. Half of the respondents cited risk of data breach from lost devices and unprotected wireless networks as the biggest mobility risk, and 44 percent listed fear of security breach as the primary barrier to expanding mobile within the organisation. Improper use of company-issued devices was listed as another major mobile security issue.

"Mobility strategies are not keeping up with the growth; only 32 percent have a BYOD policy, and there is fear of security breaches adding to the mobile hesitation," Dell said.

Similarly, big data adoption also trailed, with approximately 60 percent of organisations admitting that they do not know how to use it. The index showed that both security and infrastructure costs are the primary obstacles for implementing big data initiatives, followed by a lack of management support, and technical skills.

Further, respondents indicated that big data is less of a pressing issue than security, cloud, and mobility.

Aimee Chanthadavong travelled as a guest of Dell to Dell World 2014.

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