Cyber Security Is The CEO’s Biggest Problem

Cyber security continues to be the top concern of business leaders and is the area where leaders feel their knowledge is most lacking, according to research conducted by events and technology company GDS Group

According to senior leaders at the 300 global companies polled on behalf of Meet the Boss, an online round-table platform and subsidiary brand of GDS Group, cyber security remains their top priority. 

The survey asked those in technology leadership roles, “Please rate how relevant / important these hot topics are to your role” and asked respondents to give an importance score out of ten. Cyber Security achieved the highest score of 9.0, closely followed by Cloud Strategy (8.5) and Digital Transformation (8.4). 

What was a surprise, however, was that Internet of Things (IoT) and AI/Automation received the lowest scores (5.0 and 7.5 respectively). When examining the most common cyber security threats, virtually all of them fall under one of the following three categories: human behaviour/error; IT or third-party relationship. In order to reveal any knowledge gaps that might exist, respondents were then asked, “Rate your knowledge level on the following topics”.

The biggest gap between the relevance/importance of a topic and the level of knowledge felt by respondents was revealed in cyber security, with an importance score of 9.0 and knowledge of just 7.2.

As part of the survey, GDS also asked 37 board level contacts what topics they said were the most important to them. In contrast to technology leaders, they rated AI/Automation as one of the most important topics with an extremely high score of 8.0/10.0, indicating a disconnect in priorities down the chain of command.

The research shows that business leaders have a real hunger for knowledge on most topics and are very flexible with how they approach their learning. While there is a small preference for face-to-face learning, they are equally at home learning from digital content, digital training courses and virtual conferences and roundtables.

The survey identified that the most senior technology leaders at major global firms seem incredibly knowledgeable on many of the most important topics, but admit to being less proficient in many of the emerging topics. The survey asked, “Please rate how useful the following are in helping you learn about hot topics.” There was no mode of learning that stood out as a clear winner.

  • Face to face training and digital content got the highest average scores (7.7 and 7.4), despite these being polar opposites in terms of investment (time and money) and degree of interactivity. 
  • Second equal were digital training courses, which strike a balance between ease of attendance and interactivity, written content, which allows self-paced learning, and virtual round tables which achieve high levels of human interaction with only a small investment of time involved.
  • Methods of learning which require little investment of time and money received the same scores as methods which were extremely expensive and time-consuming.

Spencer Green, the founder and chairman of GDS expressed surprised to see that AI and automation are not currently a top priority for technology leaders. “As a relatively new trend, we expect it will climb the ranks as we see more evidence of its ability to transform businesses. The high interest we found among board level contacts in AI/automation provides another indication that this will become a key trend... While interest in cyber security, data, cloud and digital transformation remain as high as ever, so it is vital for us to help our clients to inform and educate business leaders in these areas.” Green said

GDS Insights:        Exhibition World:       MeetTheBoss:           CISCO Investments:      Telegraph:

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