Navigating digital disruption: Balancing innovation and security in 2024

Navigating digital disruption: Balancing innovation and security in 2024

Toby Alcock, CTO of Logicalis, outlines how CIOs are well-positioned to provide decisive and agile leadership in an era propelled by rapid technological change.

Toby Alcock, CTO of Logicalis

In an era propelled by rapid technological advancements such as AI and IoT, significant changes, opportunities and challenges will inevitably impact the direction for businesses of every scale. Simultaneously, growing cyberthreats, environmental sustainability pacts and economic instabilities are coming together to disrupt business as usual.

Logicalis’s latest annual CIO report, which surveyed over 1,000 CIOs globally highlighted the delicate balance technology leaders must strike given the vast opportunities and risks across multiple fronts at the same time. In navigating this dynamic environment, decisive and agile leadership is vital, and CIOs are well-positioned to take on that role and steer their organisations into the future.

Harness innovation, but be mindful of hazards

Despite on-going economic turbulence, businesses are banking on the transformative potential of new technologies this year. The launch of groundbreaking innovations like Generative AI marks the advent of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. CIOs acknowledge the potential technology has to reshape their business models, enhance efficiency via automation and help drive differentiation. In fact, 89% are actively pursuing chances to integrate AI with 85% earmarking budgets solely for its development.

While new technology can be transformative, it also poses significant threats. Cybersecurity concerns have increased significantly, with 83% reporting cyberattacks in 2023. AI has propelled cyberthreats making assaults more relentless, automated and precise and Quantum computing also has the potential to weaken current encryption standards. Utilising more innovative tech can broaden the range of cyberthreats and heighten the vulnerabilities businesses face.

In these environments, CIOs must operate cautiously to protect their organisations from the evolving digital threat landscape. There is an urgent need for businesses to build robust defence strategies amidst rapid Digital Transformation, particularly as out of the 83% who reported cyberattacks, only 43% of CIOs feel fully prepared for another breach.

To keep pace with the volume and sophistication of threats, IT teams need additional, specialist support. Working with a Managed Service Provider (MSP) with specialist security capabilities and the ability to bring multiple vendors together protects businesses from having to choose between costs pre and post-incident. CIOs can be confident that their business is in safe hands while internal teams focus on delivering business value. 

Navigating barriers to transformation

Although CIOs are enthusiastic about embracing innovation, they do face significant barriers. A significant 62% reported or anticipated Digital Transformation project cancellations or delays due to financial limitations.

There are also practical barriers standing in the way of success. The skills gap continues to grow leaving CIOs without the specialised expertise needed to manage emerging technologies. Yet, with budgets tight for many, hiring more staff may not be feasible.

Looking ahead, Digital MSPs can empower CIOs to drive change, beyond just reducing costs. By providing insights into infrastructure performance, filling in skill gaps, and managing connectivity infrastructure for innovations like IoT, such partnerships enable CIOs to scale efficiently and develop new digital business models.

CIOs find themselves at a decisive moment with no clear roadmap. The opportunities seem vast, but so do the risks. How they navigate the maze of priorities, constraints, and collaborations over the next 12-18 months will sculpt the uncertain decade ahead.

Our research indicates cautious optimism among CIOs. CIOs have long been heralds of change, and by harnessing the power of technology, fostering a culture of collaboration across the entire organisation, embracing data-driven decision-making, and forging strategic partnerships, CIOs can assume a leading role in propelling their organisations towards a more prosperous future.

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