IT heads lack mobile and social media security skills

CIO survey shows technical skills gap in key emerging areas

IT leaders lack technical expertise in emerging areas such as social media and mobility.

IT leaders lack technical expertise in emerging areas such as social media and mobility.

Published Monday, 4 March 2013
By Mark Sutton

IT heads are under-prepared to tackle new priority areas of technology, according to consulting firm Protiviti.

The Protiviti 2013 IT Priorities Survey showed that CIOs, IT VPs,, chief security officers and other senior IT personnel only ranked their competence in areas such as social media security and mobile security as slightly above average.

The survey asked respondents to rate their competency in a number of areas of technical expertise. In the areas of social media security, social media integration, mobile commerce security, mobile commerce integration, and mobile commerce policy, respondents only rated their skills as an average of 2.8 out of 5.

Protiviti warned that CIOs are expected to be involved in an increasingly diverse number of fields, and are struggling to manage the technology risks, regulatory compliance and performance challenges surrounding them.

"The continued rapid global expansion of the smart phone and mobile applications marketplace reflects the strong demand from business leaders and consumers for access to information anytime and anywhere, which presents exciting opportunities for delivering value. However, it also creates greater technology risk potential," said Kurt Underwood, a managing director with Protiviti and leader of the firm's global IT consulting unit. "The result is significant pressure on IT departments and business leaders as they are asked to deliver more mobile technology-enabled services. This pressure forces them to take on considerably more risk than they're prepared for - especially in terms of policy, integration, data management, security and data privacy related to mobile commerce and social media proliferation and innovation."

Managing and classifying enterprise data is the number one security and privacy area in need of improvement, and remains a major challenge for IT departments.

Executive-level respondents also rated mobile commerce security, policy and integration among their top five priorities in the new survey's technical knowledge section, which contrasts strongly with the 2011 survey in which none of these areas made the top of the list. Interestingly, challenges related to virtualisation and cloud computing receded in the rankings compared to 2011, suggesting IT departments have a higher level of confidence in managing these areas.