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IT Priorities 2020: ANZ firms to spend more on cyber security

Over half of respondents in Australia and New Zealand plan to invest more in cyber security, especially in key areas such as data loss prevention

Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) organisations are putting more money into cyber security this year even as overall IT spending in the two countries is growing at a slower pace, a new study has found.

According to the TechTarget/Computer Weekly IT priorities 2020 study, 54% of respondents in ANZ plan to invest more in cyber security, specifically in key areas such as data loss prevention (DLP) and endpoint security to mitigate the impact of growing cyber threats in the region.

In Australia, the investment in DLP technologies is timely. According to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC), 537 data breaches were reported between July and December 2019, a 19% increase over the first half of the year.

Almost one in three breaches were linked to compromised login credentials, possibly through phishing attacks, which accounted for at least 15% of data breaches during the reporting period, the OAIC noted in its latest Notifiable data breaches report.

Human error was also a key risk, causing 32% of all data breaches. This could be unintended disclosure of personal information to wrong recipients via email, which accounted for 9% of all breaches.

Against this backdrop, it is not surprising that nearly 80% of ANZ respondents plan to invest more in end-user security training this year – the highest among all Asia-Pacific respondents who participated in the study.

The focus on cyber security has not come at the expense of digital transformation efforts. Nearly half of all ANZ respondents cited digital transformation as a top priority and are pulling out all stops to transform and digitalise.

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About four in 10 ANZ organisations plan to spend more on on-premises infrastructure, while roughly one in three will complement their on-premise infrastructure with a multi-cloud strategy, underscoring the prevalent view that hybrid cloud is here to stay in the foreseeable future.

Alongside investments in cloud infrastructure, building cloud-native applications and modernising legacy software at the same time has been a key theme among ANZ respondents. These efforts are crucial as ANZ organisations seek to improve their competitive edge through faster time-to-market, increased productivity and better customer experiences.

Many of them are in fact adopting DevOps, some more advanced than others, and relying on application programming interfaces (APIs) to drive co-innovation with partners and suppliers. A good proportion of respondents are also looking to automate their business processes more than they do now.

With Windows 7 having reached the end of its support lifecycle, the migration to Windows 10 has moved to the top of the agenda from last year in the list of mobility and end-user computing priorities of ANZ organisations.

This was followed by unified endpoint management and mobile device management tools, which would help to mitigate security threats arising from the growing adoption of telecommuting during the current Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.

The focus on customer experience is evident in ANZ, where digital experience management and customer relationship management took pole positions among the priorities for business applications. This was followed by finance and accounting software, which respondents noted were due for a refresh.

This year’s study was conducted on the back of bearish market sentiments, which could explain the slower rate of increase in IT budgets across most respondents in Asia-Pacific. In ANZ, just 45% of respondents expected bigger IT budgets compared to 73% in 2019.

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