Almost nine out of ten APAC organisations will ‘maintain or ramp up’ their digital labour investment this year, which includes spending on cyber security.

The 2017 Harvey Nash/KPMG CIO Survey of chief information officers (CIOs) also revealed that more than two-thirds (68 per cent) of organisations are adapting their technology strategy because of “unprecedented global political and economic uncertainty.”

The survey of CIOs was undertaken before the recent WannaCry ransomware attacks, which targeted computers using the Microsoft Windows and demanded ransom payments in Bitcoin. Organisations all over the world were affected – for many it was a wake-up call that they had been neglecting their cyber security efforts.

“Confidence in cyber security is at an all-time low,” said Dr Jonathan Mitchell, non-executive chair of global CIO practice for Harvey Nash. “Today, only one in five respondents feel that they are very well prepared to respond to cyber attacks.

“The relative ease with which hackers seem to be able to ghost their way into apparently well-protected systems creates sleepless nights for any IT leader,” he said.

It’s not just hackers that organisations should worry about. Last weekend, a British Airways IT systems failure left thousands of its passengers stranded around the world and the compensation costs (not to mention the negative PR) will likely prove expensive for the airline.

Nick Marsh, managing director of Harvey Nash Executive Search APAC, believes that investment in technology is the way to avoid similar outages. He said: “Technological advances are occurring at an astonishing pace, coupled with the ever-changing political and economic landscape. We are living in very exciting yet unpredictable times.

“Many technology executives are turning this uncertainty into opportunity and are becoming the driving force in making their organisation more nimble and digitally innovative. Technology leaders are becoming increasingly influential, as CEOs and boards turn to them for help.”

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