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Security and web top IT priorities for Canadian businesses

LeadershipSecurity & Privacy

Over the next 12 months Canadian firms intend to focus their efforts in boosting cyber security, IT skills development, improving online presence and working on data storage and backup initiatives, according to a recent survey by non-profit tech organization Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA).

These IT spending and hiring priorities identified by Canadian firms closely resembled the list of priorities identified by other countries that were part of the global study.

“Although as businesses rely more heavily on the ‘Internet of Things,’ security, data loss and privacy concerns will affect more companies on more levels than before,” according to CompTIA’s International Technology Adoption and Workforce Issues report. “…Businesses in several countries project solid increases in IT spending, while four in 10 expect to hire new IT staff over the next 12 months.”

The survey carried out from February to March this year involved 1,256 business executives involved in setting and executing IT policies. The countries covered included Canada, Brazil, France, Germany, India, Japan, Mexico, Oman, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Thailand and the United Kingdom.

The top 5 IT priorities of Canadian businesses are:

  1. IT security (56 per cent)
  2. Web/online presence/e-commerce (46 per cent)
  3. Updating aging computers and software (44 per cent)
  4. Data storage and backup (43 per cent)
  5. Mobility devices and applications (43 per cent)

While 16 per cent of businesses globally indicated that being “exactly” where they want to be with regards to IT skills hiring, about 44 per cent said they are seeking “significant improvement on the IT skills front.”

In Canada 59 per cent of executives believe that cyber security threat is increasing and 38 per cent of respondents said human error is a growing factor in security incidents.

The top human errors cited were:
  • Failure of end-users to follow security procedures
  • Increased used by staff of social media

Ninety per cent of Canadian executives said their organizations has some degree of IT skills gap, 39 per cent said their skills gap was small and 50 per cent said the gap was more extensive.

More than half (61 per cent) of Canadian executives believe IT certifications will increase in importance over the next two years. Sixty two per cent of Canadian respondents said staff holding IT certifications have proven expertise.

Globally, businesses also listed the following IT skills in terms of importance to their business:

  1. Network and infrastructure
  2. Data base and information management
  3. Server and data centre management
  4. Storage and data backup
  5. Help desk and IT support
  6. Data analytics and business intelligence
  7. Printers, copiers and multifunction devices
  8. Security and cyber security
  9. Customer relationship management
  10. Web design and development