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CIOs and CTOs name cyber challenges for 2021

Which will be the most important technologies in 2021? Among Chief Information Officers (CIOs) and Chief Technology Officers (CTOs), nearly one-third (32pc) say AI and machine learning, followed by 5G (20pc) and IoT (14pc).

The top two concerns for CIOs and CTOs, as polled by the technical professional body the IEEE, when it comes to the cyber-security of their organisation are security issues related to the mobile workforce including employees bringing their own devices to work (37pc) and ensuring the Internet of Things (IoT) is secure (35pc). This is not surprising, since the number of connected devices such as smartphones, tablets, sensors, robots and drones is increasing dramatically.

Slightly more than one-third (34pc) of CIO and CTO respondents said they can track and manage 26-50pc of devices connected to their business, while 20pc of those surveyed said they could track and manage 51-75pc of connected devices.

Manufacturing (19pc), healthcare (18pc), financial services (15pc) and education (13pc) are the industries that most believe will be impacted by technology in 2021, according to CIOs and CTOS surveyed. At the same time, more than half (52pc) of CIOs and CTOs see their biggest challenge in 2021 as dealing with aspects of COVID-19 recovery in relation to business operations.

These challenges include a permanent hybrid remote and office work structure (22pc), office and facilities re-openings and return (17pc), and managing permanent remote working (13pc). However, 11pc said the agility to stop and start IT initiatives as this unpredictable environment continues will be their biggest challenge. Another 11pc cited online security threats, including those related to remote workers, as the biggest challenge they see in 2021.

CIOs and CTOs surveyed have sped up adopting some technologies due to the pandemic:

– More than half (55pc) of respondents have accelerated adoption of cloud computing
– 52pc have accelerated 5G adoption; and
– 51pc have accelerated AI and machine learning.

The adoption of IoT (42pc), augmented and virtual reality (35pc) and video conferencing (35pc) technologies have also been accelerated due to the global pandemic. Compared to a year ago, CIOs and CTOs overwhelmingly (92pc) believe their company is better prepared to respond to a potentially catastrophic interruption such as a data breach or natural disaster. What’s more, of those who say they are better prepared, 58pc strongly agree that COVID-19 accelerated their preparedness.

When asked which technologies will have the greatest impact on global COVID-19 recovery, one in four (25pc) of those surveyed said AI and machine learning,

About the survey

“The IEEE 2020 Global Survey of CIOs and CTOs” surveyed 350 CIOs or CTOs in the US, China, UK, India and Brazil from September 21 to October 9. Visit


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