The 'Don't knows' are running UK IT

By Chris Middleton
01 Jul 2014 View Comments
big-data-skills

A Computing survey of senior IT managers with data centre responsibility finds that two per cent of them don't even know where the data centre is located within their own organisations, or how it is managed.

The same research reveals that six per cent of the senior IT managers surveyed have no idea how the budgets for new IT systems or data centre upgrades are allocated or managed, suggesting that they have little insight into board-level decision-making.

The findings came as no surprise to Computing's research team. Every year, Computing Research carries out dozens of surveys among its IT management readership, and in many of them the number of 'Don't knows' in response to simple questions is alarming.

For example, a new Computing survey of 102 IT leaders in the financial and professional services sectors finds that 27 per cent of respondents have no idea of the percentage annual increase of data within their organisations – enterprises that are wholly reliant on data and which are heavily regulated.

In the same survey (full results from which will be published later this month), 14 per cent of IT leaders said that they lack basic information about compliance, with many relying on word of mouth to inform them of changes in the law.

In April, Computing found yet more holes in IT leaders' basic knowledge of their own estates. Nine per cent of senior IT respondents to a survey said they have no idea how many physical servers are operated by their organisations, and 11 per cent have no idea of the number of virtual servers.

The same research found that seven per cent of IT leaders don't know whether their own organisation uses public or private cloud versions of either PaaS, IaaS, or SaaS, while 18 per cent have no idea if there is any plan to upgrade the organisation's IT infrastructure at any point in the future.

Another survey published recently by Computing found that six per cent of IT managers have no idea what their own approach to application security risk management is. Nine per cent of respondents could not say which types of application are protected by their own security systems, and which are not.

Security was also a problem in a January 2014 survey of IT decision-makers, in which Computing found that 14 per cent have no idea what web application security measures their own organisation operates. Five per cent of respondents said they have no idea what is protected by the web application firewall.

Other recent Computing research has found a similar lack of knowledge among industry professionals. For example, a December 2013 survey of 110 senior IT decision-makers found that six per cent don't know what information governance programmes or policies exist within their own organisations.

Five per cent of respondents said that their management boards have no idea where security threats come from, what the risks are, or what they should do about it.

A Computing survey of 270 senior IT managers, published in August 2013, found that 13 per cent of respondents have no idea what mobile operating systems they have authorised the use of within their own BYOD policies, raising questions about the security of their enterprise systems.

In November 2013, Computing found that 11 per cent of IT managers don't know if sensitive data might be at risk within the organisation because of employees', teams', and/or departments' unauthorised use of cloud platforms, applications or tools.

Unsurprisingly, eight per cent of the IT leaders surveyed said that they don't know how much the use of 'shadow' IT systems is growing within their organisations, with departments mixing and matching their own solutions from public cloud platforms.

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