Which Chief Information Officer Responsibilities Keep You Awake At Night?


One of the biggest health concerns facing Americans today might surprise you. It’s not cancer or heart disease or obesity. It’s sleep deprivation. As a Chief Information Officer (CIO) myself, I can’t say I’m surprised. I’ve had plenty of restless nights.

A new TV documentary on the National Geographic Channel called “Sleepless In America” explores the sleep crisis facing our country, pointing out that inadequate rest is not only bad for your physical and mental health, it could even have fatal consequences. Sleeplessness isn’t discriminatory – it affects truck drivers, students, soldiers, new parents, and corporate executives – virtually everyone.

I’ll venture to guess that the main reason for lack of sleep among Chief Information Officers is anxiety about security and downtime. As a CIO myself, I know that security concerns and disaster resilience have certainly caused me a few restless nights. Being in the life-saving business – I’m the CIO of LifeShare Blood Centers in Shreveport, Louisiana – if we experience downtime for even a few hours, it disrupts our ability to collect the data needed to gather and distribute a critical, life-saving blood supply.

Sungard Availability Services, out disaster resiliency partner, recently commissioned a survey* of 276 IT professionals and found that security, downtime, and talent management are indeed the issues that weigh most heavily on CIOs’ minds. More than half of survey respondents (51%) believe security planning should be the last item to receive budget cuts in 2015. The good news? Disaster recovery testing dramatically reduces downtime (by 75%) for enterprises deemed “best-in-class” in disaster recovery and business continuity. That might help you rest a little easier.

I can see why security is at the top of the list. LifeShare Blood Centers houses private information from donors, and it’s vital to our nonprofit that we keep their information protected and out of hackers’ hands. Following security, disaster recovery emerges as a top concern. Hurricane Katrina wreaked havoc for our company and blood supply. Having a DR plan is an important element to any business continuity strategy, but it is not always top-of-mind. Finally, the survey found that the third highest reason for sleeplessness among CIOs is talent acquisition. It’s important to shore up your internal team, providing them with extra resources where possible. Fortunately, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the job outlook for IT managers is expected to grow faster than average (15%) between 2012 and 2022.

Clearly, today’s CIOs are concerned with the resiliency of their organizations and the consequences a disaster can have on an organization’s reputation and revenue stream – which is a good thing. With proper planning and preparation, CIOs and IT professionals can stay ahead of the game and ultimately get a proper night’s rest.

*The survey, commissioned by Sungard Availability Services, was conducted by SurveyMonkey Audience. The survey reached 276 IT professionals and was completed in December 2014.

This article was previously posted on Sungard Availability Services.

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