Data breaches tops list of security concerns for CIOs

Local efforts in Nigeria to increase the pace of digitalization and ensure regulatory compliance are being ramped up across industry verticals. Cloud remains one of the main drivers of most digital transformation initiatives, with 85 percent of organizations in Nigeria already using cloud for IT operations.

According to the IDC research, most organizations across Nigeria plan to significantly increase their investments in public and private/hybrid clouds by more than 10 percent over the next 12 to 18 months.

It’s interesting to note that only 14 percent of organizations in Nigeria had embarked on digital transformation journeys before the COVID-19 pandemic occurred, whereas following the pandemic, nearly half of organizations in the country plan to further expand their resiliency initiatives to prepare for future disruptions. CIO priorities such as maintaining business continuity and optimizing costs are accelerating digital transformation initiatives in Nigeria.

The research reveals that the pace of enterprise-wide cloud adoption in Nigeria is rapidly increasing as business leaders look to ensure flexibility, agility and business continuity throughout their daily operations. Almost half of organizations (41 percent) said they will be using a combination of on-premise and cloud solutions in just two years’ time. Already, six percent of organizations prefer to use the cloud; and this number is expected to grow to eight percent over the next two years. This increased adoption speaks to the confidence companies have in cloud solutions as they prepare to navigate a post COVID-19 world.

However, the potential for cyberwarfare and security breaches often increases as digitalization initiatives get underway. As is to be expected, the majority of Nigerian organizations are increasing their spend on security solutions along with cloud adoption services.

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According to the IDC research, 72 percent of organizations in Nigeria have increased security budgets by 10 percent or more over the last few years. This is not only the result of accelerated cloud adoption levels, but also increased awareness of security in senior management and rising new threats. For Nigerian CIOs, the consequences of a possible security breach is their number one concern as they look to navigate an increasingly complex threat and regulatory landscape.

An ever-changing threat landscape

There’s no doubt the risk landscape has become more complex, and while cybersecurity solutions have matured a great deal, threat actors are not idling. As organizations continue to pursue their digital transformation journey, security must be considered every step of the way to ensure a safer digital environment for all.

Bad actors have noticed that more data is being processed in the cloud and there’s been a noticeable increase in cyberattacks. In fact, the FBI ranked Nigeria 16th among the countries most affected by cybercrimes in 2020. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic forced more people to learn, work, shop, bank and connect online than ever before. More devices, networks and connection points have resulted in the expansion of the threat surface, bringing the need for a robust security strategy to the fore.

Security remains a major focus for Nigerian organizations

Around 61 percent of companies are prioritizing endpoint security solutions as endpoints increasingly move beyond the enterprise core. Another 41 percent are implementing VPNs and virtual desktop infrastructure to secure remote workers. In line with the growing threat of phishing and ransomware, half of organizations are deploying identity and access management (IAM) solutions.

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Companies also face pressure from government regulators to ensure company, employee and customer data remains protected. The Nigerian Data Protection Regulation (NDPR) was brought into effect in October 2019 to regulate who can access and control personal data and help combat the growing threat of cybercrime. Despite this, just 12 percent of organizations feel they are fully compliant with Nigeria’s data protection regulations.

As organizations move into hybrid environments, security becomes critical. To avoid security breaches and limit vulnerabilities, ensuring work visibility in increasingly complex IT environments is essential. It’s important for organizations to understand that security must be implemented consistently during cloud migration, and not only after their cloud environments are up and running.

Failing to consider security during design may prove very costly in the long run. No wonder then that security has become an important consideration for CIOs seeking to maintain operational continuity, keep abreast of the latest cyberthreats, and develop their digital transformation road maps.

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