Digital Transformation Stunted by Poor Working Relationships

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Organizations’ digital transformation projects are being held back through lack of collaboration between security and networking teams, according to a new study by Netskope.

The survey of IT professionals in the UK, France, and Germany, undertaken by Censuswide on behalf of the cloud security firm, revealed that two key components of IT teams—networking and security—often have a poor working relationship. Despite nearly half (45%) of security and networking teams operating within the same group and reporting to a common boss, 43% of those surveyed stated that "the security and networking teams don’t really work together much."

An even higher proportion (44%) of IT pros described the relationship between these teams in negative terms—"combative" (13%), "dysfunctional" (10%), "frosty" (10%), or "irrelevant" (10%).

This appears to be having major consequences, with more than half (51%) of participants agreeing that lack of collaboration between specialist teams is preventing their organization from experiencing the benefits of digital transformation. This figure rose to 54% when focusing on the responses of CIOs.

The findings come in the context of a surge in new or accelerated digital transformation projects in the past year brought about by the COVID-19 crisis, which has forced many organizations to change the way they operate. Undertaking such transformations safely requires close collaboration with security teams.

More encouragingly, the network and security professionals surveyed highlighted the same top three priorities for driving their team’s activity in 2021, which are "supporting increased productivity for the organization as a whole," "increasing visibility and control," and "expansion of infrastructure to support business growth." Additionally, the survey found that digital transformation projects are being regularly pursued by both teams, with 85% of all participants either working on such a project or having just completed one.

Andre Stewart, VP and MD EMEA at Netskope, commented: “All big companies have their politics and often different divisions compete for budget or strategic importance at the board level but digital transformation is happening now. A more dispersed workforce using a greater number of apps for greater efficiency is creating exponential data growth and a much broader attack surface for hackers. That means network transformation and security transformation must happen now with digital transformation.

“Given this evident divide between networking and security teams CEOs and/or CIOs must get involved or the progress and competitive advantage that could be reaped from digital transformation will be weak.”

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