Softcat reveals cyber security is top IT priority for the transportation sector in 2024

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A new report by provider of IT infrastructure, Softcat, offers a look into the technologies the transportation sector is prioritising over the next 12 months.

The findings form part of a report based on the views of more than 4,000 customers from 2,900 organisations in the UK and Ireland, across 27 industries in both the public and private sectors. 

The report, which is produced annually, reveals the transportation sector is, for the second year running, prioritising Cyber Security over all other technology areas, with 63 percent of respondents saying that it is a key focus for the next 12 months. 

With the transportation infrastructure pivotal for physical connectivity and the functioning of ecosystems within a territory, organisations in this sector are a prime target for cyber-attacks – the second most targeted sector, according to a recent report. 

While the sector’s ever-increasing digitisation has inevitably improved and reduced costs of its services across road, rail, air and water, its benefits, like online portals and connectivity services, are coupled with negatives such as a growing threat landscape for ransomware and data-related hackers. Meanwhile, with IoT expected to continue expanding, the rise of smart transformation could see functionality taking precedence over security. 

To combat this, organisations must engage in network segmentation, install strict malware and security systems on all devices, carry out frequent security testing and regularly educate staff on what to do when there is a cyber-attack. 

After cyber security, Digital Workspace is the second most cited technology investment area, with 35 percent of respondents saying Devices and End User Computing is a priority area. 

Ensuring the safety and security of all transport devices is key, especially since cyber security is such a concern. In an age of Bring Your Own Devices (BYOD), updating all devices with suitable defence layers can be challenging, yet this is crucial for organisational safety, as well as public safety. 

Data is listed as the third key technology investment area, with 29 percent of transportation customers citing its importance. 

As data is at the forefront of the world’s modern economies, those in the transportation sector have an important role to play to improve the use and access of its data. As outlined in the recently published Transport Data Strategy, the government plans to work alongside the industry to improve this by improving sharing discoverability, sharing, accessibility and data standards and promoting data literacy, achieved through open communication and support that aligns with appropriate governance. 

Completing the top five priorities are IT Asset and Service Management for 26 percent of transportation organisations and Datacentre and Private Cloud for 24 percent. 

Similarly, sustainability is a key Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) focus for this sector in the year ahead, with 76 percent of organisations stating that it is a priority for 2024, compared to just 8 percent in 2022. 

With the evolution of transport largely to blame for greenhouse gas emissions, the sector is the largest emitting industry in the UK. Digital tools and platforms will be pivotal in conserving resources and creating and reducing emissions to create a more sustainable mobility system. 

Meanwhile, the transportation sector has highlighted the top business challenges they expect over the next 12 months. 

Over two-thirds (70%) of respondents in this sector cited People-related challenges above all others, closely followed by Commercial Risk (37%) and Processes (31%). 

This correlates with the sector's talent shortage, which inevitably has a knock-on effect on the ability to reduce commercial risk and improve processes. 

Richard Wyn Griffith, Chief Commercial Officer, commented on the findings: "As we continue to navigate the ever-changing landscape of technology, it is essential that we remain vigilant and adaptable. The past year has seen global unrest, but it has also presented us with countless technological opportunities for growth and innovation. By taking a measured and strategic approach, we can effectively manage the risks associated with emerging technology, while also seizing the opportunities that it presents. We must remain proactive in our efforts to safeguard against cyber threats, integrate AI into our operations, and build digital resilience.   

  “Only by embracing change and remaining steadfast in our commitment to progress can we hope to thrive in this new age of digital transformation. I look forward to continuing to work with our customers towards a brighter future!"    

  • 2023 Softcat Business Tech Priorities Report findings based on a survey sample of 4,000 respondents from 2,900 organisations in the private and public sector in the UK and Ireland across 27 different industries. Customers were surveyed in June 2023.

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