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Poor collaboration between security and networking teams holding back digital transformation

Netskope research reveals that - despite shared goals - ‘combative’ and ‘dysfunctional’ relationships are jeopardising projects estimated to cost $6.8tn globally between 2020 and 2023.

Netskope has revealed startling new research showing a major breakdown in collaboration between two of the central components of the IT team - networking and security. While 45% of European security and networking teams sit within the same larger group and report to the same boss, 43% of European IT professionals state that ‘the security and networking teams don’t really work together much’. Even more damning, 44% of network and security professionals described the relationship between the two teams as ‘combative’ (13%), ‘dysfunctional’ (10%), ‘frosty’ (10%) or ‘irrelevant’ (10%).

These insights should be viewed with alarm given that 51% of research participants agreed that a lack of collaboration between specialist teams stops their organisation from realising the benefits of digital transformation (rising to 54% among CIOs). Industry analyst IDC recently valued the upcoming global spend by enterprises on Digital Transformation projects between 2020-2023 at $6.8 trillion, indicating the scale of the potential wastage that could be caused by these poor working relationships.

There were more heartening insights discovered during the research. European network and security professionals identify similar priorities driving their team’s activity in 2021, flagging the same top three priorities of ‘Supporting increased productivity for the organisation as a whole’, ‘Increasing visibility and control’ and ‘Expansion of infrastructure to support business growth’.

Digital Transformation projects are being pursued by both teams (85% of research participants are either working on a DT project currently or have just completed one). 56% of these projects involve both networking and security transformation, and 56% have a sponsor within both networking and security teams.

The headline lack of collaboration appears illogical at a day-to-day level, as well as amid strategic transformation projects. 82% of both the security professionals and the networking professionals state that security is part of the network team’s responsibility, specifically answering that ‘security is built into the network architecture’. When looking at the last year’s growth of remote working, 42% of security professionals and 37% of networking state that security has been their biggest challenge.

Andre Stewart, VP and MD EMEA at Netskope commented on the findings;

“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 CEO’s and/or CIO’s must get involved or the progress and competitive advantage that could be reaped from Digital Transformation will be weak.”


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