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Rajesh Ganesan, Director, ManageEngine
From underdog to influencer: the dramatic transformation of the IT team

From underdog to influencer: the dramatic transformation of the IT team

IT has emerged as a business enabler in the UK; recent research from ManageEngine reveals that UK companies are excelling at aligning their overall business with IT. While business professionals working outside of the IT department are reportedly exhibiting strong IT knowledge, IT managers are also showing a greater understanding of their business as a whole. The survey results gathered from over 200 IT decision makers should be welcome news for UK businesses striving to increase performance and efficiency.

Historically, different teams within organisations have been known to butt heads, so what is the cause of this newfound harmony? Many of the survey’s findings point towards a growing trend of IT managers’ involvement in important business decisions and greater awareness of IT-related issues, threats, and risks among business managers. Forty-two percent of respondents confirmed that their organisation’s IT department is regularly or always involved in business decisions, while a further 37 percent stated that the IT department is sometimes involved in decision-making that affects the entire business.
From underdogs to influencers

Evidently, the impact of this growing trend has been encouraging, with 76 percent of respondents stating that the IT department’s involvement in decision-making processes has had a positive effect on their company’s bottom line. In another unexpected twist, a large proportion of the survey’s respondents were complementary about their counterparts’ understanding of IT-related issues, with business managers having a good understanding of IT. Additionally, IT issues appear to be generating interest at the highest level, with 84 percent of respondents stating that their IT department reports to the board of directors or business owner with regular updates.

UK businesses are clearly benefiting from traditionally competitive departments sharing knowledge and insights that put them upon the same page. However, it’s not all plain sailing ahead; the heightened understanding of IT across wider businesses has placed greater focus on growing fears over IT security threats. According to the survey results, 48 percent of UK businesses believe they are somewhat or much more at risk of IT security attacks than they were 12 months ago.

While IT security attacks are on the rise, the growing need for capable tools to help IT teams protect their organisations is likely to be quickly addressed through business leaders’ greater involvement in IT issues, and the greater influence that IT managers are becoming accustomed to.

The security question mark

The survey findings also revealed concerning levels of disregard among IT teams over best practice security protocols. The findings show that 72 percent of respondents reported either cyber attacks, data theft by external parties, or unauthorised access and/or misuse of data by an employee. At the same time, almost half of surveyed businesses (45 percent) reported that they “rarely,” “never,” or “only occasionally” install security updates and patches. Additionally, 78 percent of respondents reported providing staff with a mobile device to allow remote access to company data; approximately two-thirds of companies (64 percent) say their workforce uses or downloads apps not provided by the company for work.

Now that IT managers enjoy greater influence in the boardroom, it’s far easier for them to secure sign-off for tools that will ultimately help them protect their organisation. However, they must also ensure higher levels of security within the working practices of their own teams. After all, with great power comes great responsibility.

Greater clarity on IT-related issues strengthens organisations and positively impacts their bottom line, which is certainly promising for UK businesses. However, IT managers must place greater focus on best practice security protocols—especially as more eyes across organisations fall on the activities of their IT departments. IT departments can take solace in the fact that their heightened influence will enabled them to invest in the right tools.

About Dean Alvarez

Dean is Features Editor at IT Security Guru. Aside from cyber security and all things tech, Dean's interests include wine tasting, roller blading and playing the oboe in his Christian rock band, Noughts & Crosses.

You can reach Dean via email - dean@itsecurityguru.org