CIOs, chief information security officers  and IT security managers across Europe are looking at consumer identities, improving customer experience and operational efficiencies as part of their planning but believe digital transformation could only achieve its benefits if security is improved. 

That is a key finding from a new study by market research and strategy company, Pierre Audoin Consultants (PAC), which has conducted a IT leaders' survey in collaboration with global analysts, KuppingerCole.

Identity and access management (IAM) was seen as essential to meeting the security challenges of digital transformation, with 93% of the 200 respondents across various industries pledging to maintain or increase spending on IAM in the next three years.

According to the study, there is significant awareness among senior IT decision makers of the need for IAM solutions that can function securely, while fulfilling the challenges and opportunities of the digital age. 

When questioned on what were the primary goals of their digital transformation strategies, 48% of respondents said threat or breach mitigation was very important. This response was placed just above 'improving customer experience' or 'driving costs savings and efficiencies'.

Paul Fisher, research director at PAC, said: "Our study has revealed an encouraging awareness of the need for digital transformation of business by our representative sample of senior information and security executives across Europe. They are aware of the business benefits that digital transformation presents.

"They are also acutely aware that IAM solutions will need to step up to the plate if new identities from consumers, and even those of things and sensors, are to be securely managed."

He added: "There is a recognition among our sample that in the rush to digitally transform, the all-important security factors could be overlooked by other lines of the business.

"Identity and access management will move centre stage as the main defence against cyber-attacks in the digital age."

Other key findings from the report, which was supported by KPMG, Computacenter, SailPoint, CyberArk and VMware, included 57% of businesses are considering a managed security services provider solution for their next IAM investment, while 77% revealed their organisation is already undergoing digital transformation.

PAC interviewed senior IT and security executives at 200 businesses in March 2016. The executives are employed in banking, insurance, manufacturing, retail, services, telecoms, transport and public sectors and are based in the Benelux and Nordic regions, Switzerland, France, Germany and the UK.

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Pierre Audoin Consultants

KuppingerCole