IT pros say lack of clout hinders data management

The communications gap between business and IT is negatively impacting data management initiatives at Canadian organizations, according to a new survey commissioned by Toronto-based Cogeco Data Services Inc.


The Angus Reid Public Opinion survey, which polled 268 Canadian IT professionals last month, found that IT shops are facing many obstacles when it comes to data and risk management. The numbers show 37 per cent of respondents feel they do not have the sufficient level of authority to approach the c-level executive suite with data concerns.

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Other related findings indicate 32 per cent of responding IT professionals believe the corporate structure of their company makes change difficult, while 28 per cent say that they would not be given the budget for their data management investments.


Only 19 per cent of respondents said they faced no obstacles to improving data management processes in their organizations.


Tony Ciciretto, president of Cogeco Data Services, said the lack of open communication between c-level executives and IT leaders is especially prevalent at large, hierarchical enterprises. The goal for IT professionals will be to better articulate the value of their investments in terms of the reduction of risk to the business and its ability to meet business goals.


While this is easier said than done, he admitted, getting business leaders and IT managers into the same room can often alleviate the apprehensions on both sides and give IT managers a better understanding of how to pitch their investments.


“At the end of the day, you’re all working for the same company,” Ciciretto said.


His advice to IT managers is to do a better job of understanding the actual business vertical they are in. While IT as an industry is pretty consistent across all verticals, the c-level suite will often operate far differently in a retail company than they do in a manufacturing or financial services organization.


“IT needs to understand what market they’re serving and what their customers are demanding,” Ciciretto said. At the end of the day, IT will only be heard if they effectively articulate their importance and the return on investment of their projects, he added.


As for the most surprising finding from the report, Ciciretto pointed to the amount of data growth that the whole IT community has been experiencing over the last year. With the vast majority of enterprises citing strong data growth, almost 40 per cent of respondents said they are either unsure or not confident that their companies have the right technologies and processes in place to control the data explosion.


This trend is also being felt in the data security management realm, as EMC Corp.’s security division RSA released a security report of its own on Tuesday that highlights escalating security requirements among enterprises that handle payment card data.


RSA said that the increased pressure for card data security will force many merchants to turn to outsourcing services to manage the data. This shift to outsourcing will result in fewer data breaches and reduced Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) scope, the company argued.


“In using secure payment services to minimize PCI scope, merchants also lower the time, effort and cost of achieving and proving PCI compliance,” according to the RSA report.


Ciciretto agreed that more organizations will be looking at moving their data off-site whenever it is feasible. “The most successful organizations today are the ones that don’t view this as a threat,” he said.

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