Security concerns stifling mobile and BYOD innovation


Security concerns are stifling innovation around mobile and bring-your-own-device (BYOD) projects, according to a survey published this week by Network security specialist Fortinet at the IP EXPO conference.

The Fortinet Security Census 2014 polled 1,610 IT decision makers (ITDMs), including CIOs, CTOs, IT directors and heads of IT, in organisations with more than 500 employees around the world in August 2014. The results suggest that many ITDMs are finding it difficult to pursue innovation objectives because of security concerns, particularly those experiencing pressure from the boardroom regarding security.

Of those polled, 88 per cent of ITDMs thought that the job of securing the business was getting ‘noticeably’, ‘significantly’ or ‘substantially’ more challenging. The top-ranked reasons given were: a rise in the volume and sophistication of attacks; coping with emerging technologies (such as the Internet of Things and biometrics); increased pressure and awareness from board-level executives; a tougher stance on privacy by the government and other agencies; and, issues caused by employee mobility and BYOD.

Worryingly, it appears that these concerns are stifling innovation, with 53 per cent of respondents saying that their organisation has paused or abandoned at least one new application, service or other business initiative because of concerns that IT could not manage the security risk.

According to the report, mobility and BYOD projects are bearing the brunt, comprising the majority of cancelled projects. When asked about the types of new projects that had been cancelled due to security concerns, 55 per cent of respondents cited the introduction of a mobile application for internal use, 42 per cent a mobile application for external use, 39 per cent an online/cloud service or application, 34 per cent a BYOD initiative or the use of new corporate devices, and 21 per cent the development of a new business application.

Innovation projects where security says 'No'“With IT security on the boardroom agenda, this and other challenges are clearly adding weight onto the shoulders of senior IT professional and questioning the ability of some organisations to exploit innovation while remaining secure,” said John Maddison, VP of marketing products at Fortinet.

The report goes onto reveal that such security concerns are tempting organisations to consider outsourcing as a solution, with 25 per cent considering outsourcing to a managed security services provider (MSSP) to be the ‘optimum initiative to combat growing threats’. Indeed, data privacy challenges were cited by 45 per cent of respondents as one of the most influential factors concerning future decisions around MSSPs.

However, on the flip side an increasing boardroom influence is resulting in greater investment in human and financial resources to deal with security issues, says the report, with four out of five ITDMs saying that they had been provided with sufficient resources for IT security in the last 12 months, and 83 per cent agreeing that they will have sufficient resources to combat security threats over the next 12 months.

“The good news is that many are positive and feeling well equipped with human and financial resources for the IT security challenges that lie ahead. However, to do so points toward intelligent new strategies and more investment in security technologies,” added Maddison.



About Author

Gary Eastwood

Gary Eastwood has over 15 years of experience as a technology and business journalist and editor. He has held editorship positions on customer magazines for Microsoft, CSC, and EDF, as well as on B2B magazine Mobile Enterprise. He is the former Deputy Editor of Computer Business Review. In a freelance role, Gary has contributed numerous features and articles to a broad range of publications, including New Scientist, Computer Weekly, MIS, Marketing Week, Corporate Financier, Real Business, Wireless Business Review, and driven marketing communications projects for clients, such as Intel, the Confederation of British Industry, IBM, Logicalis, the Department of Trade & Innovation, and many others. Gary has written many white papers on a range of ITC subjects for Datamonitor. He is also an editorial photographer and business videographer, and has authored and ghost-written four books on photography. He is the Co-Director of EastwoodMiddleton Publishing, which provides contract/customer magazines for a growing list of clients, and publishes the B2B magazine for business leaders, Strategist.