Bangalore: 64% of IT leaders say that cybersecurity concerns are negatively impacting their organisation’s willingness to invest in innovative tech, according to research by HPE Aruba Networking.
More so, 91% of IT leaders either consider emerging tech a danger or admit to having already experienced a breach because of it. However, this comes at a time when IT leaders are expected to embrace innovation such as generative AI to accelerate business-critical transformation. And 89% of IT leaders say their organisation requires high levels of innovative tech over the next 12 months to succeed.
The research, based on responses from 2,100 IT leaders across 21 countries, examined how organisations are currently approaching the interplay between innovation and risk. It also highlighted on the role IT leaders and the network have to play in facilitating safer innovation.
The rise of innovation
A vast majority (95%) of IT leaders state that digitisation is fundamentally important to unlocking new revenue streams in the next 12 months. In fact, both IT and the broader business are pushing to bring in new technologies that can boost innovation in terms of how the business functions and what it offers.
As they look to increase innovation, organisations are turning to emerging technology, and are currently using or planning to bring in 5G (91%), AI and machine learning (ML) solutions (89%), or IoT and smart sensors (88%).
Despite this push, only 45% of IT leaders describe their organisation as innovative – and worryingly, even less describe it as secure (44%).
Managing the growing risk
There is also a growing gulf between tech demands and the IT team’s capability to manage it all – 66% of IT leaders have concerns about their organisation’s ability to keep up with the latest tech and digital demands, and 55% say their IT teams are already stretched to capacity.
Combining this rise in technology use with the lack of resources and broader trends around remote working, hybrid cloud, and distributed centres of data, organisations are facing greater exposure than ever.
“Business needs have evolved, and teams are increasingly deploying new technologies to meet these needs. However, security measures that can support the rise of emerging tech must evolve alongside them,” said Scott Calzia, VP – Marketing, HPE Aruba Networking.
“For IT teams, this means realising that AI networking –– can support their teams in being more efficient, alleviate laborious admin tasks, and further their security strategy by delivering built-in protection.”
The role of the network
According to the research, there is growing recognition of the network’s role in business transformation – and, in particular, of the link between the network and both security and innovation.
In fact, 64% of IT leaders believe the network can support cybersecurity effectiveness and 61% believe it can support greater innovation. And IT leaders are investing accordingly – organisations are starting to press ahead with network-based security solutions including, Security Service Edge (SSE) or similar edge-to-cloud security (89%), policy-based network access control (88%), and Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) security (87%).
However evidence suggests that they still need help tying these investments together to realise their benefits – only 47% of IT leaders believe their current network can deliver or support flexible enterprise security and even fewer see its role in supporting emerging technologies (37%).
“While pressure to innovate isn’t going to ease, IT leaders need to find a secure, streamlined way to overcome the risk conundrum. This requires a unified SASE (SSE + SD-WAN) approach to bring together all disparate network technologies and truly deliver a network capable of supporting safe innovation,” observed Calzia.
“Given the prevalence of hybrid working, a strong network security foundation that includes using Zero Trust principles is a good starting point to then guide investments in SASE, SSE, and NAC,” concluded Calzia.