CIO and CSO Studies Outline the Rising Security Concerns & Changes to Tech Priorities Due to COVID-19

Boston, Mass. – May 19, 2020 – IDG’s CIO – the executive-level IT media brand providing insight into business technology leadership – and sister brand CSO – the premier security media brand providing insight into business risk leadership – each recently released research demonstrating how IT and security leaders, and their organizations, are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. The CIO COVID-19 Impact Study and the CSO Pandemic Impact Study, explore business preparedness in the face of this unprecedented time, the impact on their organizations’ approach to future risk management, and how technology and business priorities are shifting. According to the results, only 49% of IT leaders agree that their crisis/pandemic/resiliency planning process prepared them for the current situation, and this also holds true for 54% of security leaders. Although today’s social and economic landscape is filled with uncertainty, one thing is clear: COVID-19 will create lasting changes to how we work. (Click to Tweet)

Security Concerns Due to Work from Home Shift
Prior to the pandemic, only 16% of employees worked from home at least 60% of the time. This number has jumped to 78% since the institution of social and work restrictions. This sudden and drastic shift has heightened concerns for security professionals. Sixty-one percent (61%) express greater concern about attacks targeting work from home (WFH) employees. Since March 12th, 26% of security leaders report an increase in the volume, severity and/or scope of cyberattacks – which increases to 37% for those in the financial services industry.

“For years now we’ve been talking about the importance of corporate resiliency,” said Bob Bragdon, SVP and Publisher, CSO. “It will no longer only be sought after for ransomware attacks. Now, the ability to take a punch and continue to operate takes on a more important mandate and will echo across board rooms globally.”

Notes of Encouragement
Despite the security and overall organizational preparedness concerns, IT and security leaders share some notes of encouragement. The majority (68%) of IT leaders agree that their technology infrastructure was prepared to adequately address employees working from home. On an even brighter note, 81% of security leaders believe that their existing security infrastructure can adequately address the current working from home demands, and 67% feel that their security infrastructure is fully prepared to handle the range of risks associated. As more and more individuals are getting their jobs done from home, 71% of IT leaders say that the current situation has created a more positive view of remote workplace policies and will likely impact how they plan for office space, tech staffing and overall staffing in the future.

IT Priorities Become More Responsive and Precautionary
In order to address the new work environment due to COVID-19, 44% of IT leaders will need to acquire new technology solutions and services. Despite this necessity, there will likely be some shifts to IT budgets over the next 12 months. Prior to the pandemic, 59% of IT leaders expected their IT budgets to increase over the next 12 months while only 7% expected a decrease in budget. Now when asked, 40% expect their IT budgets to remain the same, 25% expect an increase, and 35% anticipate a decrease. The results also highlight the growing time spent on cost control/expense management. Prior to COVID-19 in the 2020 State of the CIO research, IT leaders were expecting to focus on driving business innovation, identifying opportunities for competitive differentiation, and developing and refining business strategy in the next three years. In response to COVID-19, these tasks have shifted significantly as ITDMs focus on control/expense management, improving IT operations/systems performance, and redesigning business processes. However, when asked what their CEO’s top three priorities are for IT, the number one response, lead digital business/digital transformation initiatives, remained consistent across studies.

“In order to keep moving forward, businesses are prioritizing the need to increase their operational efficiency,” said Anne McCrory, Group VP, Customer Experience & Operations, Events. “With that, IT leaders continue to be tasked with leading digital business initiatives throughout their organization to ensure they come out on the other side of this pandemic as strong as possible.”

Next Steps
The global pandemic has turned nice-to-have IT transformation efforts into must-have imperatives for business continuity and resilience. There’s no IT playbook for what we’re experiencing, so we are bringing together the leaders and doers who can help develop one within IDG’s The New Reality virtual event series. This series combines IDG’s technology and content expertise to explore The New Digital Workplace: The Future is Now; Risk, Security, and Privacy in the New Normal; and AI and Automation: Future-Proofing the Business. For more information, or to register, click here. For information on sponsorship opportunities, contact us.

About the CIO COVID-19 Impact Study
This survey was conducted between April 10-14 2020, to understand how the current Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is affecting IT leaders’ roles, priorities, and expected long-term effects on their IT organization and business as a whole. The results are based on the responses of 414 IT decision-makers.

About the CSO Pandemic Impact Study
This survey was conducted March 19-23, 2020 to gain a better understanding of how COVID-19 is affecting security within organizations and the preparedness of security infrastructure. The results are based on the responses of 150 security and technology leaders – 87% were senior security executives.

About CIO
CIO focuses on attracting the highest concentration of enterprise CIOs and business technology executives with unparalleled peer insight and expertise on business strategy, innovation, and leadership. As organizations grow with digital transformation, CIO provides its readers with key insights on career development, including certifications, hiring practices and skills development. The award-winning CIO portfolio provides business technology leaders with analysis and insight on information technology trends and a keen understanding of IT’s role in achieving business goals. CIO is published by IDG Communications, Inc. Company information is available at

About CSO
CSO is the premier content and community resource for security decision makers leading business risk management efforts within their organizations. For more than a decade, CSO’s award-winning website (, executive conferences, strategic marketing services and research have equipped security decision makers to mitigate both IT and corporate/physical risk for their organizations and provided opportunities for security vendors looking to reach this audience.

To assist CSOs in educating their organizations’ employees on corporate and personal security practices, CSO also produces the quarterly newsletter Security Smart. CSO is published by IDG Communications, Inc. Company information is available at

About IDG Communications, Inc.
IDG Communications connects the world of tech buyers with insights, intent and engagement. We are the world’s largest media, data and marketing services company that activates and engages the most influential technology buyers. Our premium brands, including CIO®, Computerworld®, CSO®, InfoWorld®, Macworld®, Network World®, and PCWorld® engage a quality audience of the most powerful audience of technology buyers providing essential guidance on the evolving technology landscape.

Our global data intelligence platform activates purchasing intent, powering our clients’ success. IDG Marketing Services creates custom content with marketing impact across video, mobile, social and digital. We execute complex campaigns that fulfill marketers’ global ambitions seamlessly with consistency that delivers quality results.

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Stacey Raap
Senior Marketing & Research Specialist
IDG Communications, Inc.