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Canada falling behind in security and data protection, says EMC survey

Canada falling behind in security and data protection, says EMC survey 

Independent research firm Vanson Bourne carried out the survey, entitled “The Global IT Trust Curve.” The company interviewed 3,200 IT professionals in 16 countries in ten industry sectors. China ranked first in deploying advanced security measures and data protection. IT decision makers in that country implement technology that ensures continuous availability, integrated backup and recovery as well as tight security. The U.S. came in second place, and South Africa and Brazil occupied the third and fourth places. Japan earned the lowest marks.

The True North came in somewhere in the middle of the pack. Fifty three percent of Canadian executives said that their companies had at least one problem with their IT infrastructure in the past year. Fifty eight percent of senior executives in Canada expressed confidence in their data protection and availability. Their lack of confidence is understandable: data loss and unplanned downtime bears a high cost. The survey estimated that the financial impact of insecurity is over $200,000USD.

Michael Sharun, managing director, EMC Canada, shared his insights as to why Canada’s results were not as high as expected. “There are a couple of reasons for Canada’s ranking,” he said. “The first is Canadian businesses have a lot of legacy IT infrastructure, in the form of older hardware and software, they need to integrate with newer equipment, software and processes. This makes their IT infrastructures less agile than they could be.” Companies in BRICS countries are newer, and are not burdened by older IT infrastructure. They can invest in agile technology that gives them a competitive edge.

Another reason for Canada’s marks is IT decision makers’ mindset. “The second reason for Canada’s ranking is Canadian businesses tend to see IT as a cost centre rather than a revenue driver,” Sharun noted. However, their view might work in their favour. “This inward focus might help explain why Canadian businesses report fewer events than companies in other countries that place more importance on external consequences, such as revenue and customer loyalty,” he remarked.

What will it take for Canada to rise to the top five? “Canadian companies need to see IT as a competitive advantage, and structure themselves accordingly,” Sharun advised. “For example, in many cases IT is nested under finance or HR, with an IT professional overseeing the department. To better articulate the business value of IT, companies need to make it a C-level position, led by an executive who understands the business consequences of IT decisions.”

Canadian companies’ IT infrastructure must also reach a higher level of maturity. “It’s impossible to deliver critical IT requirements such as advanced security, continuous availability or integrated backup and recovery if foundational trust maturity is lacking,” Sharun commented. “Without a predictable environment, an understanding of where assets are, or an ability to pick up on nuances and detect behavioural anomalies, organizations will be unable to adequately prevent and defend themselves from disruptive IT incidents today and in the future,” he added.

Sharun also addressed the issue of unplanned downtime. “As more mission-critical applications are now deployed on virtualized environments, new approaches are needed to eliminate expansive and debilitating downtime. Fighting today’s sophisticated cyber-attacks and intrusions calls for a move beyond perimeter protection to intelligence-driven security analytics with monitoring and response capabilities to defend against more advanced threats to the business,” he said. “Integrated backup and recovery needs to be more effective than ever before to prevent data loss, improve protection and speed time to recovery.”

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