In an effort to become more compliant with new data privacy protection and security regulations, and avoid data breaches, organizations are quickly ramping up investments in data security, according to the recently released 2018 Harvey Nash/KPMG CIO Survey.

Recruitment and outsourcing firm Harvey Nash and professionals services firm KPMG recently surveyed 3,958 CIOs and technology leaders worldwide and found that 23 percent more respondents said they’re prioritizing improvements in cybersecurity in 2018, compared with last year.

At the same time, managing operational risk and compliance has also become a significantly increased priority, up 12 percent from last year. These two areas represent the fastest-growing IT priorities of company boards of directors.

Also See: Apple taking privacy seriously with new health records API

IT leaders today face the challenging task of delivering rich, customer-centric data in an environment laden with risk, the report said. More than three-quarters of respondents—77 percent—say they are “most concerned” about the threat of organized cybercrime, up from 71 percent last year.

Only 22 percent of those surveyed say their organizations are well prepared for a cyberattack. The drive toward protecting data has caused a huge demand for security and resilience skills, which experienced the biggest jump in skills shortages, increasing 25 percent year-on-year.

While organizations recognize that an effective digital strategy is critical to successful data security, many report they still struggle, with 78 percent saying their digital strategy is only moderately effective, or worse. More than a third—35 percent—said they can’t hire and develop the people with the digital skills that their organizations need.

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