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A recent study from Syntax reveals that 51% of IT leaders reported they would be unable to successfully mitigate a data breach or ransomware attack. Overall, the report shows that leaders tend to overinflate their actual innovation capabilities. While many executives ranked themselves on the “leading edge,” also known as the top 5% of businesses when it comes to innovation, their actual capabilities reflect a different picture.

As today’s business landscape continues to shift to accommodate more permanent hybrid work, emerging technologies to facilitate this method of working requires skilled IT professionals, especially as cyberattacks continue to climb. IT leaders who overestimate their innovation capabilities find themselves at risk of missing out on critical technology that will be the lifeline of their business.

Luckily, however, hybrid work has kept digital transformation top of mind for IT leaders, and cloud spending remains high on the list. This study found that for 94% of leaders, cloud spending was up due to the pandemic, and a mere 1% said they had no budget for cloud over the next year. Companies planning no investments in any technology or processes are in the single digits across the board. This could be due to ongoing talent shortages, as nearly half of respondents (45%) report that they don’t have the talent to migrate to a public cloud.

Graphic. 51% said they would be unable to successfully mitigate a data breach or ransomware attack. Questionnaire: Given your current IT talent, would you be able to successfully complete or manage the following? 65% said migrate some data or processes to a private cloud. 63% said migrate some data or processes to a public cloud. 58% said integrate AI into ERP (enterprise resource planning) systems. 51% said navigate and neutralize a data breach. 47% said navigate and neutralize a ransomware attackware attack. 36% said automate processes using AI.


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Still, business intelligence investments are set to rise in 2022. Despite this, only 36% of companies believe that they have the staff to implement AI automation, so automation investments may still face roadblocks — especially as 44% of companies plan significant investments in business intelligence capabilities. Nearly half (48%) of businesses surveyed have automated more than half of their processes, but that number will only slightly increase to 58% over the next five years based on planned spending.

Possibly most troubling, 81% of respondents experienced a cyberattack in the last year. But results show that leaders are underprepared for the new cybersecurity landscape, as 60% of respondents indicated they were “extremely prepared” to handle a phishing attack — yet phishing was the most common type of attack reported. When it comes to securing the hybrid workplace, almost half (43%) of respondents said they are only somewhat confident their company can protect them from cyberattacks.

It will be interesting to see how companies combat skills shortages across the board in 2022 as outsourcing to partners will fall to the wayside. Managed service providers (MSPs) are the category slotted for the largest decrease in investment over the next year. Similarly, budget allocation for outsourced security operations centers is also shrinking.

Read the full report by Syntax.

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