Navigating uncertainty: how can IT decision makers meet emerging information security and compliance challenges?

IT decision make navigating uncertainty

Information security and compliance challenges have been trending the wrong way for decades

That’s one reason why data protection rises higher on the agenda of institutions, governments, and organisations across Europe year on year. The scale of the threat has expanded exponentially.

Our new Information Management research report found that IT decision makers (ITDMs) are experiencing frequent security and compliance breaches, with four in five reporting security issues in the last year. That’s despite spending more time on information security and compliance than before the pandemic.

It raises the question: have those involved in the daily task of protecting information and staying compliant across organisations been caught off guard?

In this article, we’ll look at the reasons why the role of the ITDM has become more difficult – and how automation will make it easier for ITDMs to manage information security and compliance.

The information security and compliance challenge

Cybercrime is big business. It’s predicted to cost the world $9.5 trillion in 2024, yet in 2015, it was just $3 trillion1. In recent years, fast-paced digitalisation has contributed to this, as more of organisations’ activity – such as HR and financial reporting – moves online.

To tackle the issue, the EU is introducing new regulatory frameworks. For example, the NIS2 Directive will bring more industries under the remit of existing legislation2, requiring many more organisations across Europe to demonstrate higher standards of compliance.

It’s not an area businesses can afford to ignore. In 2023, approximately €2.1 billion in fines were imposed in the EU due to violations of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)3.

At the organisational level, maintaining compliance is more complex, as the proliferation of hybrid and remote working means more sensitive data finds its way outside the office walls.

It’s therefore unsurprising that in our survey of ITDMs, security was earmarked as a core challenge, with 60% placing it in their top three. It’s diverting a large part of their energy: half of ITDMs told us that information security takes up a significant amount of their time day-to-day.

Work professionals using Canon Information Management Solutions for information security and compliance

Information security and compliance in a hybrid working world

When we look at ITDMs’ specific pain points around information security and compliance, it’s obvious that hybrid and remote working patterns have disrupted organisations’ ability to safeguard their critical information.

For the foreseeable future, hybrid working environments will be the norm for most office-based organisations. 74% of professionals in Europe expect remote work to become standard4.

But for ITDMs, it causes headaches. They don’t know if employees are using their own devices to handle sensitive data. They can’t tell which documents are being shared, and with whom. In short, they don’t have the visibility and control they need.

When we asked ITDMs how they intended to improve their hybrid working environments, 43% wanted improved visibility of employees’ software use, and 42% wanted more control over how employees approached compliance processes.

There’s a clear appetite for practical information security and compliance solutions that suit the needs of today’s organisations.

Removing the human factor from compliance processes

Our report shows that many ITDMs are taking concrete steps to increase the cyber resilience of their organisations and make compliance easier to track. It confirms our advice to our customers – that the path to greater visibility and control is paved with automation.

Manual compliance processes rely on employees remembering when they access, edit, share or delete information. These can be prone to error, and not always easy to prove during an audit. Accordingly, 36% of ITDMs say they suspect or are aware that employees don’t always follow compliance rules.

By automating some aspects of information handling with digital document management, ITDMs can easily trace a document’s movement through their organisation. This ensures that information flows seamlessly and securely, with no danger of it ending up in the wrong inbox.

53% of ITDMs already have automatic access rights in place, ensuring unapproved employees can't access sensitive documents. 51% have automatically applied storage timeframes to ensure sensitive documents are deleted in line with GDPR.

There’s still some distance to go, however. When we asked ITDMs which processes they had in place to control specific document functions, from access rights to indexing, even the most commonly implemented were still only adopted by around half of the organisations we asked.

It’s not a question of ITDMs lacking the will to progress in their automation journeys. The value of automation is apparent to all who adopt it, as virtually all ITDMs with at least one automated process say they’ve seen a benefit from it.

However, as demonstrated in our report, there are significant obstacles between the first stages of automation adoption and advanced workflow automation. It’s overcoming those challenges that will unlock the next wave of automation.


The pace of technological change in recent years has been startling. The role of ITDMs is awash with opportunity, offering them the chance to lead their organisations to the forefront of the automation age.

Viewed through that lens, the information security challenges ITDMs are facing could be the catalyst needed to accelerate a broader uptake of automation, transforming the way organisations process information.

The information management tools of the future are already here. But there’s a long road ahead before most organisations can use them confidently to supercharge their operations and add new value.

To future-proof their organisations and establish robust security and compliance measures for the years ahead, ITDMs need to embrace automation and go further in their digital maturity journeys – and to do that, they need to bring the right partner onboard.

Download our report now to see the most common information security and compliance challenges and learn why most organisations are falling short of their automation potential.

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