When it comes to data protection, China, the U.S., South Africa and Brazil are in the vanguard, with some of the most forward-thinking IT protections in place – and Canada is lingering behind, according to a new study.

EMC Corp. and market research firm Vanson Bourne released a study this week titled “The Global IT Trust Curve,” interviewing about 3,200 IT decision makers living in 16 countries around the world and working in 10 different industries. Canada placed ninth of the 16, scoring about 49.5 of 100 on a maturity curve devised by the researchers. Three of top four most mature countries were actually BRICS countries, with Japan coming in last on the list.

EMC defined maturity as trust in IT systems, asking respondents specific questions about their systems’ continuous availability, advanced security, and integrated backup and recovery processes. Respondents’ organizations scored points based on the level of sophistication of their existing technology.

(Image: EMC). Infographic showing Canadian respondents' level of trust in IT. Click to enlarge.
(Image: EMC). Infographic showing Canadian respondents’ level of trust in IT. Click to enlarge.

With cloud computing, big data, social networking, and mobile devices ranking as some of the most important buzzwords in IT right now, if countries don’t trust their IT systems enough to allow these trends to take root, they could fall behind, said David Goulden, president and chief operating officer at EMC.

“Adoption and maturity of these trends must float upon a sea of trust – trust that my information is secure in the cloud, trust that my data won’t be lost or stolen, trust that my IT will be operational when it needs to be — which, these days, is all the time,” he said in a statement.

“The more trust that can be earned and guaranteed, the bigger and faster the impact of these trends. Conversely, the less trust that is established, the more limited these trends will be. Where countries fall on the IT Trust maturity curve could affect their overall ability to compete.”

Within Canada, it seems there’s a divide between how business decision makers perceive their IT systems, versus how IT administrators view them. Just 58 per cent of senior executives said they had any degree of confidence in their organization’s ability to tap into data protection, security, and availability. And more tellingly, 44 per cent of business decision makers considered their IT department to be a source of secure infrastructure, compared to 73 per cent of IT decision makers.

While it may be surprising Canada finished behind BRICS countries in terms of IT maturity, that may be because those countries lack the legacy infrastructure typically found here, said Michael Sharun, EMC’s country manager in Canada.

“It should be remembered that BRICS countries like these three have a high proportion of young, high-growth companies, unburdened by legacy IT infrastructures. These firms are able to buy the latest and greatest technologies without having to worry about tying them to older hardware, protocols and applications. It’s natural their IT infrastructures would be relatively stable,” he wrote in a blog post.

If Canada wants to be competitive, there needs to be a sea change in IT’s role in the board room, he added.

“For too long, Canadian organizations have focussed on developing the technical know-how of their IT teams, while ignoring business skills. IT leaders need to be part of the senior leadership group,” he wrote.

“They need to know their business inside and out so they can identify new opportunities where IT can help the business break into new markets, increase customer loyalty or boost revenue growth.”

Watch Dave Martin, chief security officer of EMC, explain about the relationship between maturity and trust.

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