Research conducted by Node4, the cloud, data centre and communications provider, revealed that security is a key concern for insurance firms, with just under a third (29%) of respondents admitting they were targeted by cyber criminals in 2018, and 47% stating that data loss is a concern for 2019.
The Node4 Mid-Market IT Priorities Report, which surveyed 300 mid-market IT decision-makers, including 100 insurance sector IT managers, CIOs, IT directors and Heads of IT, also found that over three-quarters (77%) of insurance IT leaders say they would require an increase of between 6%-15% to meet their needs, with business growth ranked as the top objective (45%) and data privacy ranked second (38%).
The report illustrates how IT leaders in the insurance industry are prioritising and managing new and existing technologies. The findings of the report show:
- Cyber threats remain front of mind. Over a third (33%) highlight keeping up with the growing complexity of cyber threats as a concern for 2019, with maintaining defences due to cost also a concern (23%).
- Business growth continues to be a priority in insurance sector. Business growth is a key objective for insurance organisations, with 45% selecting it as a top objective in 2019.
- Budget increases still don’t meet the needs of insurance IT teams. 87% of insurance respondents expect their IT budgets to go up. However, over a quarter (26%) expect this will not match the ambition of their team.
- Insurance IT is making the move to cloud. There is a shift from on-prem to private cloud, with insurance respondents more likely to be planning to move workloads from on-premises to private cloud (31% compared to an average across all sectors of 29%).
“The importance for IT teams in the insurance sector to deliver on business objectives, as well as successful security strategies, is apparent in this research, which reveals the plans and priorities for IT leaders in the insurance industry mid-market in 2019,” said Paul Bryce, CCO at Node4.
“The overall majority of mid-market IT leaders expect to be working with bigger budgets in 2019, and this is especially true for those in the insurance sector. However, they don’t believe that the increase in budget will be adequate to meet all of their ambitions, and as a result, will need to work with partners who can help them invest wisely while also making the most of their existing IT.”
Battling the growing complexity of cyber-threats
The report reveals that one of the main concerns for insurance IT teams is keeping up with the worryingly sophisticated developments of cyber criminals. To illustrate this, a third of respondents pointed towards this complexity as the biggest security threat in 2019 (33%). Alongside this, nearly a quarter of respondents believe maintaining defences due to cost will be their top challenge in 2019 (23%).
The report found that the insurance sector is more focussed on business growth than other IT decision makers, with the average respondent across all sectors ranking business growth second at 36%, and data privacy top of the list at 42%, while insurance IT teams ranked business growth at 45% compared to a smaller 38% for data security. For the IT leaders in insurance, there is certainly a clear focus on security, with things like ransomware attacks also high on the list of challenges (34%).
Growing confidence in the cloud
There is another minor contradiction for the insurance sector here, as over a third of insurance IT leaders stated they are concerned about data in the cloud not being as rigorously protected (39%). This is relatively inline with the overall average of respondents across all sectors, with around one in five believing that finding a cloud provider with enough security experience (19%) to meet their goals is the biggest challenge for this year.
Despite this, insurance respondents were still slightly more likely (31%) than average respondents across all sectors (29%) to be planning to move workloads from on-premises to private cloud, and overall 21% plan to increase colocation investment.
First time adoption of cloud remains a significant factor across the research base. Equal percentages (15%) plan to adopt the public or private cloud for the first time in 2019.
You can download the full report here