Security, SaaS, VoIP Among Top CIO Projects

Consider the rising profile of cyber-criminals and the havoc they can wreak on the networks that carry increasing amounts of sensitive personal and information.
Today – less than a week after 700 computers at the University of Utah were attacked by the so-called “Conficker” worm – computer security experts are warning about the potential that confidential tax information could be intercepted on its way to the IRS through electronic filings.

Also today, as TMCnet reported, officials with one Cupertino, California-based security, storage and systems management solutions provider say they’re seeing malicious code grow at a record pace.

Officials with Symantec Corp. say in a new report that the malicious code primarily targets computer users’ confidential information, echoing some of what TMCnet heard recently from the world’s largest maker of computer networking gear. Officials at Cisco Systems Inc. say that cyber-criminals’ attacks are becoming more targeted and sophisticated. We also heard from security experts at Google Inc., in an interview here, that spammers are leveraging people’s fears in this down economy.

So is it any wonder that security concerns are driving CIOs’ budgets?

According to one Menlo Park, California-based IT staff provider, seven out of 10 CIOs interviewed recently said that security tops their list of projects, followed by virtualization (28 percent) and data center efficiency (27 percent).

Officials at Robert Half Technology say that – according to telephone interviews with 1,400 CIOs from U.S. companies with 100-plus workers – technology executives in the financial services and transportation sectors cited security most often, with 59 percent and 58 percent of the responses, respectively.

According to Dave Willmer, executive director or Robert Half Technology, although times are lean, many companies are finding that they can’t afford to postpone IT investments that lead to increased security, efficiencies or revenues.

“Organizations also are trying to make sure they are prepared for growth when conditions improve, and enhancing their IT infrastructure is part of that process,” Willmer said.
After data center efficiency, VoIP made the list at 26 percent.

Here’s what the firm had to say about IP telephony: “Lower monthly phone bills, greater network flexibility and unified messaging, which allows users to more efficiently retrieve messages, are among the benefits that companies realize when they invest in VoIP technology.”
Rounding out the top-10 list were Software-as-a-Service (26 percent), green IT (20 percent), business intelligence (19 percent), social networking (18 percent), Web 2.0 (17 percent) and outsourcing (16 percent).

BY Michael Dinan - TMCnet Editor

Michael Dinan is a contributing editor for TMCnet, covering news in the IP communications, call center and customer relationship management industries. To read more of Michael's articles, please visit his columnist page.

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