AI & Cybersecurity Topping the List of Priorities for Canadian Businesses to Invest In: NOVIPRO/Léger Survey

2018 proved to be an exciting year in technology for many Canadian businesses with AI and cybersecurity topping the list of priorities to invest in.  According to the third annual IT Portrait of Canadian Businesses Survey conducted by Canadian IT solutions firm, NOVIPRO, AI adoption is on the rise amongst mid to large-sized companies with more than one-third (34%) of businesses planning to invest in Artificial Intelligence within the next two years. This represents an increase of 48% compared to 2017.

Despite advances in IT and AI, the survey reveals that cybersecurity remains the Achilles’ heel for most businesses across the country with more than half (57%) owning confidential information on their clients and of these, nearly four in five (79%) already falling victim to a cyberattack. Perhaps most troubling is the lack of processes in place to manage a cyber attack with one quarter (25%) of businesses without a recovery plan in place and nearly half (49%) citing they would not write a note to their clients in the event of a data breach.

Investing in AI across the country

The survey reveals that while all provinces continue to plan on major tech investments in AI in the next two years, not all businesses are in sync. Surprisingly, Ontario businesses are planning the least amount of investments at 35%, compared to Atlantic Canada (48%), Quebec (42%), British Columbia (42%) and the Prairies (41%). Some industries also consider AI as a priority more than others. This is the case for businesses in consumer goods (52%), technology, media and telecoms (40%), as well as financial services (40%). Companies that work in professional services (23%), manufacturing (25%) and healthcare (26%) are the least likely to make any significant investments in AI.

As the labour shortage continues to be a growing phenomenon in Canada, almost one in three Ontario businesses (30%) plan to invest in AI to replace manual tasks of their organization with the main goal of adapting AI to increase their productivity (48%).

Cybersecurity still an important issue amongst businesses

In addition to AI, the survey sheds light on the current state of cybersecurity amongst Canadian companies. While 28% of Canadian businesses admit they had been a victim of a cyber attack in 2018, only 25% Ontario businesses were a victim this year compared to 34% in 2017.Businesses from Atlantic Canada (43%) and Prairies (38%) had the most attacks. Industries that were victims of cyber attacks the most were from agriculture (50%) and construction and real estate (40%) sectors.

Furthermore, if a data breach occurred, not all companies would want to share this information. Respondents from Ontario businesses say that 79% would communicate with their IT team, half (49%) would write to clients, and 64% would report to police and company leaders. The study found that the most transparent industries were companies in the agriculture and healthcare sectors.

Better perception of IT, but not Security

After three years of conducting this study, NOVIPRO found that Canadian companies have a better perception of their IT systems. In fact, they are much more conscious this year (38%) in recognizing the strategic role of technologies than in 2016 (21%). Two years ago, one out of five companies (20%) considered their technological infrastructures to be avant-garde. In 2018, the proportion is 34%. In 2016, 54% of Canadian businesses thought the future was in the cloud, but felt they were not ready to implement this change. In 2018, 44% of the companies’ surveyed say that Cloud computing has made them better than ever.

About the 2019 NOVIPRO/Léger Survey

For the third year in a row, NOVIPRO and Léger have drawn a global picture of the IT in Canada. The online survey was conducted from November 1 to November 21, 2018, and polled 476 decision-makers in IT sectors (300) and various other industries (176). All the respondents worked for big (500 employees or more) or medium-sized (100 to 499 employees) companies. Consult the main findings of the survey.

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