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Lack of skills remain a challenge

A new study has shown that a lack of skills is the biggest challenge CIOs in the GCC face, both internally as well as within their partner ecosystem, when it comes to increasing investment in IT security and storage.

Respondents in the Symantec-sponsored IDC Study revealed that skills were also rated the most important consideration when choosing a partner to work with. According to the results, lack of skills was not only an internal challenge, but was also seen as a problem with partners and other solution providers in the region.

A common view held by CIOs was that generally vendors had sales offices in the Gulf and lacked suitably skilled staff to advise customers, implement solutions and support users. The study also showed that spending on IT security by organizations in the GCC remained robust ? the study highlighted a distinct increase in IT budgets compared to 2009.

The findings also indicated that only critical projects requiring minimum expenditure with minimum risk would get the green light in 2010. The majority of respondents (excluding the government sector) said they had been severely affected by the recession and as such indicated reprioritised efforts, with new initiatives focusing squarely on business value and cost savings.

"The study has identified that regulatory compliance is also a concern for GCC corporations," said Ranjit Rajan, research director at IDC MEA. "Over 90 per cent of CIOs have currently invested or are planning to invest in governance, risk and compliance solutions highlighting regulatory compliance as a major driver of security and storage investment."

According to the study, cloud computing was being considered by 62 per cent of respondents, however concerns around data ownership, security and regulatory compliance together with poor connectivity infrastructure would restrict its uptake over the medium term.

"The research has shown that business applications less likely to move to a cloud environment as opposed to web applications that are most likely to be deployed on a public cloud environment," added Johnny Karam, MENA regional director at Symantec.

The findings of the study, which focused on IT Security and Storage priorities and challenges in the GCC, was conducted by IDC and sponsored by Symantec Corp. The results were disclosed by Ranjit Rajan, research director at IDC Middle East and Africa (MEA), and Johnny Karam, MENA regional director, at Symantec, at a press conference held in Dubai.