Cybersecurity now the City’s biggest priority

Tim Wallace
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MOST finance firms plan on hiking spending on cybersecurity and data management this year, according to a study published yesterday by recruiters Robert Half.

Coping with new regulations had dominated the survey of chief financial officers (CFOs) for several years, and the change onto security marks a new era in challenges facing the sector.

The study found 52 per cent of finance bosses plan to increase spending on cybersecurity.

In part that cash will go into hiring more staff – 39 per cent expect to take on more employees to cope with the extra work in the area.

The spending on cybersecurity comes at a time when firms are investing heavily in technology. Robert Half found 64 per cent of large firms want to upgrade their systems to improve customer experiences.

On top of spending more on cybersecurity, 43 per cent of finance businesses expect to increase spending on data analytics, with 33 per cent predicting they will need more staff to manage the extra workload.

Meanwhile the proportion expecting to spend more on regulatory changes has fallen to 39 per cent.

However, 56 per cent of bosses plan to hire more staff to cope – more than in any other business area.

“While cybersecurity is absorbing the lion’s share of budgets, regulatory reform is driving the hiring agenda, with companies accelerating recruitment efforts yet facing a shortage of professionals with the requisite skills and experience,” said Robert Half’s Neil Owen.

“Businesses that successfully implement an integrated governance, risk and compliance programme, thus aligning resources to business demands, should be able to drive efficiencies, reduce duplication of efforts and realise potential cost savings.”

This time last year 90 per cent of CFOs were struggling to find enough staff to manage the flood of incoming rules. The new figures indicate the area is still crucial, but the crisis levels of the post-crash era may have passed their peak.

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