6 Things We Learned in a Survey of Security Leaders

Community Blog
Written by Laurel Hiestand

AUGUST 24, 2021

We recently reached out to our CISO communities to gauge their views about returning to a semblance of normalcy. Below is feedback and sentiments captured by a pulse survey sent out to security leaders from leading organizations across North America. 

We explored how they view returning to “normal” at their organizations and their sentiments on live gatherings. Here are six things we learned from almost 250 security leaders.

Highly Concerned About Team Culture and Engagement

When asked about their top business concerns, 60% of CISOs selected “maintaining culture and engagement,” as their top priority.

Maintaining culture and engagement was the number one choice regardless of role in the organizations surveyed. The second highest concern was "employee retention and recruitment" with 53% of CISOs selecting it, followed by "driving new revenue and growth" with 42% of CISOs indicating this was their top concern. It’s apparent that security leaders are highly focused on maintaining and driving strong employee engagement and performance. It’s encouraging to see that there is still a strong drive to enable new revenue sources and continuous growth despite the uncertainty of the future. 

2 Returning to the Office 

Perhaps surprising to some, 47% of CISOs indicated that they already have "some employees back in the office now." Others planned to return in less than three months (20%) or three to six months (27%). Only a small minority of CISOs are planning to return 6+ months from now (5%) with the smallest percentage indicating that they will continue to work remotely indefinitely (2%).

Future of Remote Work

When asked about their plans for the future of remote work, 71% of CISOs told us that their organizations will continue to provide hybrid options between remote work and the office.  Only 4% of CISOs indicated that hybrid or remote work is not part of their approach at all. A solid 13% of CISOs say that remote work will be a permanent option for at least some, or even all employees moving forward.

4 Long-Term Effects of Remote Work

When asked about their main concerns around the long-term effects of remote work, it was almost a tie between the “ability to maintain company culture” (26%) and “team communication and alignment” (23%). To a slightly lesser extent, “employee morale & burnout” (15%) and “fatigue from being virtual” (13%) were listed as top concerns. As more employees head back into the office in the coming months, it will be interesting to see how sentiments shift.  

Business Travel

A small minority of CISOs told us that they have resumed business travel (7%), while a quarter of CISOs are saying they will either return to business travel in less than 3 months (26%) or in 6+ months (26%). This sentiment is consistent with other executives across the C-Suite, though plans will likely continue to evolve based on current circumstances. 

6 In-Person Events

63% of CISOs are either very excited or somewhat excited to return to in-person events and meetings. About 20% of CISOs told us their feelings were fairly neutral, if things kept trending well. Overall, CISOs are feeling optimistic about returning to in-person events later in the year. Below are a few comments indicating their sentiments on the return to live summits: 

About time we got around to meeting people face to face.

As soon as the meetings I would like to attend return to in-person, I plan to go.

Can’t wait!

Desperately looking forward to it!

You can view all the results from our June pulse survey here. For more information about our community gatherings, you can check our Calendar page or find your regional Evanta community here on our website.

Laurel Hiestand headshot

Laurel Hiestand

Content Director at Evanta, a Gartner Company


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