More than 90% of surveyed senior business leaders agree that strong technology governance contributes to improved business outcomes and increased agility, according to ISACA’s latest research.
Despite recognising the link between governance and outcomes, a governance gap still exists, with 69% reporting that their leadership and board of director teams need to establish a clearer link between business and IT goals.
The data delves into corporate governance of all things digital, increased responsibilities and funding priorities as well as asking if boardrooms are doing all they can to plan, train, fund and safeguard their organisation’s digital assets. The research summary, related infographic and additional resources can be found here.
“The boardroom must become hyper-vigilant in ensuring a tight linkage between business goals and IT goals, fully leveraging business technology to improve business outcomes while diligently safeguarding the organisation’s digital assets,” said Matt Loeb, CEO of ISACA.
“The message from our research is clear: there is much work to do in information and technology governance. Committing to a boardroom with technology savvy and experience strongly represented provides the needed foundation for organisations to effectively and securely innovate through technology.”
Not all executive teams and boards walk the walk in matters of digital security. The data shows that only 55% say their organisation’s leadership team and board are “doing everything they can” to safeguard their organisation’s digital assets and data.
At the same time, 21% don’t think their leadership team and board are “doing everything they can” to safeguard their organisation’s digital assets and data, and 23% neither agree/disagree or don’t know.
As a part of overall governance, cyber security policies and defences were cited as the number one corporate governance technological challenge and opportunity faced by senior leadership teams globally.
Yet, only 21% of senior leadership and boards are briefed on risk topics at every senior leadership meeting.
And only one-third of organisations assess risk related to technology use on a monthly or more frequent basis.
Many leadership teams are prioritising and increasing funding for cyber security and risk management programs.
Almost half (48%) of leadership teams will prioritise funding expansion in cyber defence improvements, beating the number that intend to significantly expand funding for digital transformation (33%) and cloud (27%).
Leadership teams also intend to fund increases in spending for security consultants (27%), upgrades to network perimeter defences (25%), and cyber insurance (17%).
Well over half (64%) of organisations have already increased spending on risk management in the past year versus last year, and 33% intend to increase spending in enterprise risk management programs over the next 12 months.
Leadership teams recognise that internal cyber threats are as real as external ones – 61% say the board or senior leadership team believes there is heightened risk from both external and internal risks.
Despite the widely recognised importance of cyber security, most organisations are not planning to increase funding for training over the next year: 35% of respondents intend to increase spending in data security training for employees; 15% of respondents intend to increase spending for cyber security training for board members and 21% of respondents intend to increase spending for employee privacy training.
The majority of organisations are using some type of governance framework to help address areas like cyber security and risk.
ISACA’s industry-leading COBIT governance framework is used by 28% of respondents.
The key benefits achieved from using a governance framework include assistance in meeting performance standards and compliance requirements.
Privacy and GDPR
Related to privacy, there is still work to be done to prepare for the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Specifically, among organisations affected by GDPR.
Only 32% are satisfied with the progress they’ve made to prepare for GDPR. And more than a third (35%) are unsure of the progress their organisation has made to prepare for GDPR, while 40% are taking a wait-and-see attitude about how GDPR will impact their organisation.
Leading in business technology governance
In ISACA’s research, respondents were asked to name organisations whose boards they perceive to be doing an exemplary job of business technology governance. Of the more than 150 organisations noted, Microsoft, Google and IBM were most often cited as leading by example.
In addition, at companies like Sydney, Australia-based financial products and services organisation Tyro, governance is already paying off.
“Business decisions at Tyro are aligned with technology-based solutions, leveraging technological and governance components to improve Tyro’s overall resilience and confidence in its technology and product stack,” said Sascha Hess, director of operations at Tyro Payments Ltd.
“Aligning business and technology decisions has created a culture where leaders and team members alike have already clearly seen advancements toward our overall business results.”